Soil Field Day

Saturday, September 16 – 9:00 AM to Noon 

Location: Chester Woods, Olmsted County Park

Join the Minnesota Driftless Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts at Chester Woods Park in Olmsted County as we explore the soils of prairies, savannas, and oak woodlands.

Soil is one of the three basic resources we depend on (water, air, soil).

On this field trip, we will dig into soil, look at its horizons, and discuss the origin of the soil’s parent material and how the soil developed over time. Soils can tell us about the native plant communities of the recent past. There are prairie soils, savanna soils, and forest soils which are reflected in the soil horizons. Soils also show how wet they are by their soil color, and we will compare a well-drained soil to a poorly drained soil.

We will be looking at prairie and savanna soils that developed in:

  • Loamy glacial till – the well-drained RacineSoil and the poorly drained Clyde Soil.
  • Loamy sediments over bedrock – the Rockton Soil.
  • Loamy-skeletal colluvium on very steep south-facing slopes – the Brodale Soil.
  • Sandy outwash – the Plainfield Soil.
  • Loamy outwash – the Hoopeston Soil.

Peter Hartman, a board member of the Minnesota Driftless Chapter of The Prairie Enthusiasts, will be presenting the soils in this field trip. Peter is a retired soil scientist who worked on soil surveys and was a Resource Soil Scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

This event will begin at 9 am, Saturday, September 16, and will last until noon.

There will be some walking, but we will also have the park’s tractor-pulled wagon with seats that will take us between some of the soil sites. Because we are using this wagon, we will be limiting the number of attendees to 24.

Registration for this event is required.

Please email Patty Trnka (patty.trnka@prodigy.net) by September 8th to register for this event, or at any time to ask questions about it.

Patty will track the number of registrants and when the cap of 24 is reached, people will be added to a list of substitutes in the event an original registrant cancels their attendance.

In the event of bad weather or any other reason why the event must be delayed or cancelled, only those who have registered will be notified of the change in plans.

The event is finished.


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