Which organisation do you work for?
A day in the life of…
Very varied!! Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time on Teams calls planning project work and catching up with colleagues. Earlier in the week I was invited to speak to a group of farmers in Norfolk about what they can do to improve their soil and nutrient management.
How does your job fit within Soil Science?
Most of my work focusses on soil and nutrient management within agricultural systems.
Why is this an interesting area to work in?
It’s very relevant. Soils are under considerable pressure, and we need to take action to protect and restore our soils.
Why SOIL Science?
I’ve always found it really interesting, and there is lots still to learn!
What did you study?
I did a Geography degree, and then a PhD, both at Leeds University. My PhD was on recycling biosolids to short rotation willow coppice.
What has your career path been so far?/ How did you begin your career?
I joined ADAS in July 2003 as a Soil Scientist. I wasn’t really looking for a job at the time as I hadn’t finished my PhD, but I saw the job advertised via a BSSS mailing list and it was exactly the sort of thing I wanted to do, so I applied, got the job, and stayed! I switched my PhD to part time when I joined ADAS and submitted my thesis a year after I started work.
What is the best thing about your job?
It’s interesting and there is always more to learn. Plus soil scientists are great people.
What skills, abilities and personal attributes are essential to success in your job/this field?
Do something you are interested in and then it doesn’t feel like work.
What advice would you offer to young people interested in a career in soil science?
- Go for it! Try and join a group where you can work closely with lots of other people – you learn so much from the people you work with.
Can you recommend other journals, magazines or professional associations which would be helpful for professional development?
Soil Use and Management (obviously!). If you are interested in agricultural soil science, I’d also recommend reading farming magazines like Direct Driller Magazine and Farmers Weekly. The Groundswell Show every June is great for meeting people, and AHDB also have a wealth of information on their website.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not many people know
I am currently binge-watching Ginny and Georgia on Netflix
Is there anything else that you would like to share relating to your work in soil science?
Occasionally we get the chance to do outreach/education activities and they are great fun. Last summer we dug a soil pit in our village orchard to talk about soils as part of a village summer festival. Lots of people came to see the soil pit and were really interested.