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posted on 9/30/11
SJC Supports Soil Judging Contest
On Saturday, September 10, the 2011 Tri-County Soil Judging Contest was held on the Juanita Waugh farm real estate owned by Saint Joseph's College. It is the first time such an event has been held on the property, which is located in neighboring White County.
Gibson Southern High School of Fort Branch, Ind. took home first and second place honors, as the school fielded two teams. Southmont Senior High School of Crawfordsville, Ind. placed third in the senior class. The top three finishers in the junior class were South Newton Junior-Senior High School of Kentland, Ind., Eminence High School of Eminence, Ind., and Eastbrook High School of Marion, Ind.
Soil contests require knowledge of different types of soil and how they relate to each other. For the contests, a backhoe is used to dig a pit. The contestants must then determine where the different horizons, or layers, are located and describe their color, type, and consistency, among other things.
One of the main purposes of soil judging is to teach students about sustainability and conservation. Learning about soil can tell students how to protect soil from erosion, improve crops, and conserve nutrients. This idea ties into the theme of sustainability being taught at Saint Joseph's College, where freshmen have been preparing meals with fresh local produce, much of which was grown on a campus garden or procured from within 10-15 miles of campus.
SJC Assistant Professor of Computer Science Brian Capouch, who once served as the soil judging coach at West Central High School in Francesville, Ind., commented, "Soil judging is a way to gain a better understanding of the capabilities, origins, and best use practices for soil, a valuable resource. It's an honor to have our property be used for this purpose, which increases awareness of the importance of responsible stewardship of nature's gifts."
Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 26 majors, 4 group majors, 28 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of more than 1,000 students.
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