Environmental Studies Faculty and Staff Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003


Fieldwork, field sampling, soils sampling, undergraduate students, Ozette prairies


This paper describes a field project from an introductory soils course taught in spring 2001. Looking at soils in the field is a necessity, since the physical details of soils cannot be readily reproduced in a class or lab setting.Convincing students that crawling into a muddy hole will help them learn does not always work. So I conceived a plan to inspire the class about looking at soil in the field. I used geography as a starting point, by selecting an extraordinary environmental setting for the field project. Then I fully developed a research project for the class, including hypotheses to be tested and provided ample background information. I followed the lead of television and peppered advertisements for the project throughout lectures, overemphasizing several aspects with the aim to entice the students into the field. The combination of preparation and marketing resulted in a hugely successful field experience.

Publication Title

Pacifica, Newsletter of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers

Required Publisher's Statement

Pacifica is a publication of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG), a regional division of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).



Permission to post this article was granted by the publication.