Environmental Management 3
The World of Water is Making a
Agriculture & Environmental
Land and Life
Drs. Graetz t Ou Retirement
Faculty, Staff, & Student News
From Our Former Students
Dr. Vimala Nair
UF UNIVERSITY of
4 From the Chair...
The Soil and Water Science Department
5 (SWSD) launched a major effort to
improve enrollment in our undergraduate
5 programs via 1) broadening appeal for non
-traditional students, 2) curriculum
5 review, 3) faculty retreat to discuss
6 current undergraduate programs, and 4)
7 by improving outreach activities to
promote programs. At present, we offer a
8 major in Soil and Water Science (SWS) and
an interdisciplinary undergraduate major
in Environmental Management in
Agriculture and Natural Resources
(EMANR). The EMANR major is offered in
Gainesville and at the Indian River
Research and Education Center (IRREC),
and we are exploring opportunities to
offer this program at other locations. As
part of current degree in SWS, we plan to
offer two specializations: Soil Science and
Water Science. In addition, we see
opportunities to offer our programs to
students interested in pre-professional
programs in law and health-related
professions. Non-traditional students are
beginning to see the value of our
undergraduate programs. This is reflected
S in large enrollment in two of our general
SOS 3022, Soils in the Environment, and
SOS 2007, The World of Water. Current
enrollment in these courses is
approximately 150 students per course per
offering and we expect enrollment to
increase in the future. To complement
these courses, we are in the process of
offering another general education course
entitled "Land and Life" which deals with
issues related to land use and
degradation, and fundamentals related to
soils and the environment. We hope to use
these three courses to help promote our
undergraduate programs. Our
undergraduate coordinators are planning
to spend some of their time visiting
community colleges in the region, and we
have redesigned our web site to showcase
our undergraduate programs. We hope our
new efforts will result in an increase in
undergraduate enrollment as well as
general enrollment in our courses.
2007-08 has been a difficult year for UF-
IFAS and for the department, with major
budget cuts. The result has been a
significant reduction in state-funded
positions. These are challenging times for
all of us and the department must find
cost-effective ways to maintain teaching,
research and extension programs. We will
be going through some tough times in the
next few years, but in spite of budget
limitations, we are committed to
maintaining excellence in our programs by
redirecting and conserving our resources.
To meet these challenges, we need the
support and help of our emeritus faculty,
alumni, friends, and our clientele.
We are Growing!
Recently, the value of majoring in SWS is becoming more apparent to UF
undergraduate students. We now have 15 majors and several minors. This
Spring semester nine students joined us by transferring from various
community colleges in Florida. During April, five students already at UF
decided to change majors. Of the students who transferred from on campus,
three came from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and two from
within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). One of the
students is pre-med while another is interested in going to dental school.
Several are attracted to the Combined Degree program we offer. In this
program an undergraduate can take classes which will apply towards their
Bachelor of Science as well as their Master's degree.
Recent recruiting has included the Gator Encounter which takes place at the
end of Spring semester. Several hundred students, parents, advisors, and teachers from high schools and two-year
colleges across the state were in attendance. Our Undergraduate Coordinator, Mary Collins, spoke with about 50
individuals telling them about the major and opportunities for employment. She also spent an afternoon at Santa Fe
Community College in Gainesville recruiting with Charlotte Emerson, CALS Director of Student Development and
We are in the process of developing the following tracks/specializations: Soil
Science, Water Science, Pre-Professional. Also, students can work towards a
minor in Education in the College of Education. After completion of the
requirements, the students will be given a temporary Florida teaching
certification. This will allow the student to teach high school science and to
be eligible to obtain permanent teaching certification.
What does the future hold? Depending on the number of transfer students
UF will allow, we could increase our number to 20 this Fall semester. So the
good news is we are growing! For further information, contact Mary Collins
Introducing a New Track in
In response to the Cooperative State Research, Education, Extension Service (CSREES)
review in 2007, a plan was initiated to provide a broader and potentially more attractive
range of opportunities for prospective undergraduate majors in the SWSD. Beginning in
the Fall of 2008, the department will offer two new academic tracks in addition to the
traditional Soil Science track: a Water Science track and a Pre-Professional track. The
objectives are to expand undergraduate enrollment in the SWS major and to provide
students with greater specialization in their coursework to suit their professional goals.
The Water Science track will highlight courses within the SWSD and other disciplines on
campus that emphasize water, water quality, and public health. Students will work
closely with the undergraduate advisor to design a course of study in preparation for
careers related to water science or for subsequent graduate studies. The relevant
curricula are currently being developed for approval by SWS faculty, and will include coursework related to water
chemistry, hydrology, ecology, and policy. Enrollment in the SWS major has been low for several years, and it is
expected that these measures may provide attractive alternatives to prospective students and increase the visibility
of the SWSD as a whole throughout the university community. For further information, contact James Bonczek at
in Law and Health-Related Professions
The SWSD is pleased to announce the development of pre-professional programs
for undergraduate students interested in further studies in law or one of the
health-related professions. As environmental quality becomes of greater concern
to Florida and the rest of the country, legal issues regarding land use and
environmental quality are becoming more common. The law pre-professional
emphasis is intended for students interested in agriculture or environmental law,
and will prepare them for entry into law school. Students will obtain a BS in SWS
and a minor in Agricultural Law. Electives include courses in various departments,
with a focus on legal and cultural implications of environmental science. Students
will obtain a firm scientific background from which to approach environmental and
The newly developed pre-professional emphasis in health-related professions is geared to preparing undergraduates
with an interest in environmental science for entry into medical, dental, and veterinary schools. Other health-
related programs, including pre-optometry and pre-pharmacy, can also be accommodated. The student will obtain
a BS in SWS, and individual electives are designed to provide the background recommended for the ultimate goal of
the individual student. The student will take courses intended to provide the strong background in basic sciences,
including chemistry, physics and biology, recommended for each of these programs. For more information, contact
Andy Ogram at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interdisciplinary Studies Degree
in Agriculture and Natural Resources
The Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources
(EMANR) major is an Interdisciplinary Studies major in the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences. EMANR provides the scientific and
technical foundation needed to integrate and communicate the diverse
environmental issues associated with urban, agricultural, and natural ecosystems. Courses are selected from
several disciplines to provide a science-based perspective on issues dealing with the management and protection
of our natural resources. Environmental management encourages the best use of our natural resources for their
social and economic benefits while protecting associated resource values, property rights and the environment.
By combining specialized courses with general introductions to environmental policy and law, students gain an
understanding of the difficulties involved in combining economics and environmental stewardship.
Currently there are 10 students in the EMANR program, two of whom graduated in the Spring semester. Several
of our students are distance education (DE) students through the IRREC. The flexibility of the EMANR major fits
this program well. Plans to expand the DE program to Gulf Coast REC in Plant City are underway.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for environmental managers and environmental
technology specialists will expand over the next decade. With concerns mounting over pollution, global warming,
and corporate responsibility, businesses and government agencies have started to aggressively compete to hire
the best environmental management graduates. Employment opportunities are widespread and include positions
with environmental and agricultural consulting companies, agricultural producers, agribusiness operations,
governmental agencies such as the Water Management Districts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, utility
companies, and the legal profession. For more information contact Susan Curry at email@example.com.
Off-campus undergraduate classes in SWS are offered either through
videoconferencing, the internet or both. SOS 3022, Introduction to Soil
Science in the Environment, and SOS 4116, Environmental Nutrient
Management, are offered through internet and Polycom
i videoconferencing to various UF Research and Education Centers including
."" I. FLREC (Ft. Lauderdale), IRREC (Ft. Pierce), MREC (Apopka), GCREC (Baum
-- and Plant City), and West Florida REC (Milton). ALS3133, Agriculture and
Zhenli He from the IRREC with students on a field Environmental Quality, is also offered through the internet. These classes
trip. are offered in support of state wide CALS programs at the REC centers
such as Turf Grass Science, Environmental Horticulture, Agricultural
Education, Environmental Management, and Natural Resource
Conservation. The students have access to various interactive tools
(e.g. e-mail, bulletin board and chat rooms). Both the videoconference
lecture and website allow for strong interactions and communications
between the instructor and students and among students themselves.
These tools make the class materials easily accessible and greatly
facilitate the learning experience. The laboratory portion of SOS 3022
class is offered live at all participating centers with SWS faculty
teaching the lab. Students get hands on experience in the Lab as well
as in the field. A field trip in soil classification is done every year in
the Ft Pierce area.
SSoil classification field trip in IRREC, Ft Pierce.
Shown: Amy Shober who teaches lab in Plant City
The offering of soil and water science classes through the DE program has
allowed the expansion of the teaching programs in these off-campus
locations, for example the recent establishment of the teaching programs
in Plant City and the Environmental Nutrient Management program in Ft.
Pierce. It also allowed in-state and out-of-state students from NRCS and
other agencies to take soils classes completely on line for their
professional development. For more information contact, contact Samira
Samira Daroub with students participating in the Daroub at firstname.lastname@example.org.
soil classification field trip at the IRREC
Join us at... The 9th Annual Soil and Water Science Rteeearch Forum
The 9th Annual Soil and Water Science Research Forum http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/forum/) is scheduled for
September 12, 2008, in Gainesville, Florida. The forum is designed to bring together representatives from state
and federal agencies as well as private industry, faculty, graduate students, and prospective students interested in
soil and water science. The forum will provide an opportunity for all those interested in soil and water science to
interact with our students, faculty, and administrators on campus.
This year, Dr. Don Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair and Chairperson, Department of Plant and Soil Science,
University of Delaware is the featured keynote speaker at the forum. We look forward to your participation in the
forum. If you are planning to attend, please register at http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/forum/. For additional
information, contact Lena Ma at Lqma@ufl.edu.
General Education Course (ALS 3133)
Agriculture and Environmental
Quality is a survey course which
introduces the students to the
integral role that agriculture and
related industries play in
The objective of this course is to
acquaint students from
agricultural as well as other
disciplines with agricultural
practices and their effect on
environmental quality, and to
show how agricultural scientists are attempting to
minimize agricultural pollution, while sustaining food
production for the ever growing human population. Topics
covered include organic wastes, nutrient management,
land application of biosolids
and wastewaters, pesticide
management, wetlands, and
energy production from organic
wastes. This course is offered
Spring and Summer semester
(even years), satisfies a Biology
General Education requirement
and is an approved course for
the Sustainability minor. For
more information, contact
Susan Curry at scurrvyuft.edu.
The World of Water is Making a Splash
General Education Course (SOS 2007)
The World of Water (SOS 2007) is a relatively new course that was created to
expose a larger number of students throughout the university to the SWSD, and it
appears to have been effective. Begun in the Spring of 2006 with only eight
students, the class has grown quickly with 192 students pre-registered for the Fall
2008 semester. The course is intended to acquaint students with many of the
essential roles of water in the environment. Topics range from the fundamental
properties of water to the importance of water and water quality to society.
Course topics also include water in oceans, takes, rivers, soils, and the
atmosphere as well as the importance of water in various physical and chemical
processes in the environment.
This summer, the course will be offered as a DE course for the first time. There are also preliminary plans to
offer a section of the course at Santa Fe Community College in hopes of increasing awareness of the
opportunities in Soil and Water Science to prospective transfer students. For further information, contact James
Bonczek at email@example.com.
Land and Life
General Education Course (SOS 2008)
SOS 2008 Land and Life (formerly Soils, Humans, and
Environmental Impact) is offered Summer B and Fall
semesters, and satisfies a Biology General Education
requirement and is included in the courses for the
new Sustainability minor. SOS 2008 is intended for
non-SWSD majors, and we introduce students to
principles of ecosystem function and environmental
issues related to soils. The course concentrates on
fundamentals of soil and environmental science, and
uses case studies to illustrate basic principles. The
text book for course is Collapse by Jared Diamond,
which illustrates how a lack of stewardship of the soil
contributed to the failure of past societies and
helped shape human history. The last part of the
course is devoted to relating historical environmental
problems to modern problems. For more information,
contact Andy Ogram at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
includes the course syllabus and schedule.
Retirement Reception for Dr. Graetz and Dr. Ou
Don Graetz and Li-Tse Ou retired in December 2007.
We wish both of them all the best during their
~. L "`
Faculty, Staff, and Students
Nick Comerford accepted a new position MS thesis award.
as the Director of the NFREC, Quincy, FL.
Nick has made major contributions to our Zhenli He was awarded tenure with
discipline through teaching and research promotion to Associate Professor.
programs in Forest Soil Biogeochemistry.
We wish Nick all the best in this new Yuncong Li was promoted to Full
position. We also congratulate him on his Professor.
new post as President-elect of the Soil
Science Society of America. Elizabeth Hodges Snyder (major advisor:
George O'Connor) won the 1st Place award
Samira Daroub received the 2007/2008 for Best Graduate Student Poster at the *
CALS Graduate Teacher / Advisor of the 2008 UF Water Institute Symposium.
year award during the CALS Scholarship -.
and Leadership Awards banquet in April. Jared Sweat
Jared Sweat r 1
She was also recognized at the CALS Spring (third from left)
graduation commencement. joined us this
semester in SWS.
Ann Wilkie received the Student He works part-
Involvement Award for Student time as a field
Organization Advisor of the Year, 2007- assistant for a
2008. She was recognized for her consulting firm
outstanding commitment to students and in Gainesville. Our students achieve a
her tireless efforts as Advisor to the great deal while still at school.
Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology
Society. The award was presented at the Hollie Hall was selected as a NSF-funded
Student Involvement Awards Ceremony GERT Fellow, to pursue her PhD in W
held by the Center for Student IGERT Fellow, to pursue her PhD in SWS.
Involvement and IDEAL at the Reitz Union
on March 31, 2008. Lisa Gardner, Jason Lessl, and Subodh
Acharya were selected as Alumni Fellows
Alan Wright was awarded the Editor's to pursue their PhD degrees in SWS.
Citation for Excellence in Manuscript
Review for the Agronomy Journal for Congratulations and thanks go out to all
2007. faculty, staff, and students for their
outstanding contributions to our
Caitlin Hicks received the 2007 IFAS Best discipline.
Carl Fitz-Ft. Lauderdale REC
Carl Fitz joined the SWSD in March 2007 as Assistant Professori
of Landscape Ecology, and is based at the Ft. Lauderdale
Research Et Education Center. After recei,.Ing a BA in
Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia (19791.
Cail became a research technician in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
,here he became interested in carbon exchanges among coral
reef, seagrass and mangrove systems. Carl then attended the
Uni versity of Georgia. here he received a PhD In Ecology
(1990) after Inv.estigating blue crabs as a vector of carbon
transport withinn and among salt marsh and estuarine systems. At the Univ.ersity of
Maryland. he then started development of integrated biogeochemical and
hydrologic models of habitat mosaics in the greater Everglades landscape. In 1996.
Carl joined the South Florida Water Management District. ,'here he 'as the team *
leader of a continuing effort to develop and refine the Everglades Landscape
Model. Carl can be reached at cfitzX.ufl.edu. Further Information on his research* .
and extension program is available at http://ecolandmod.ifas.ufl.edu.
From our former students ...
Dr. Jagtar Bhatti
We are proud to note that one of our former PhD
students, Dr. Jagtar Bhatti, was one of twenty-five
NRCan scientists recognized for contributing to the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s
2007 Assessment. These scientists worked in
conjunction with over 3,600 experts and authors from
over 130 countries to produce the report, which was
honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Bhatti is
currently with the Canadian Forest Service.
Padraic Mulroy graduated in 1996 with a MS from Dr.
Ou's laboratory and is currently working at Mulroy
Environmental 30 Lisroland View, Knockbridge,
Dundalk, County Louth. Email: email@example.com
I am a Floridian. I always enjoyed the outdoors and
just the Florida landscape in general. I spent many
hours on the water and out in the woods. I
transferred to UF from the US Air Force Academy
with every intention of continuing on in Engineering.
A friend of mine was majoring in Soil and Water
Science and I became more interested in the
"science" and "problem-solving" aspects of the SWS
curriculum. It wasn't long before I switched to SWS. I
spent time working as an assistant for Drs. Don
Graetz and Vimala Nair until I graduated with majors
in SWS and EMA.
For the past 10 years I have been working for the
Florida Department of Transportation, in Tallahassee,
as the State Wetland Scientist and Environmental
Research Administrator. My duties have expanded
over the years to include issues dealing with wildlife,
stormwater, erosion control and
intergovernmental relations. My time in SWS gave me
a variety of course work that has benefited me in
handling ever changing issues in transportation.
Although I do not get down and dirty in the Lab or in
the field much anymore, my SWS experience has
enabled me to be able to see issues from a different
prospective than most all of my counterparts in the
transportation field. This allows me to effectively
plan and get out in front of most environmental
I also farm full-time in Madison County. My SWS
experience has really helped me to experiment and
seek out solutions to farming challenges and to
produce efficient, higher yields using fewer inputs.
As a child I lived in
Manhattan, KS. I was
.: awarded a National Merit
-... Scholarship, so I could
**- -. study anywhere in the US.
I decided to come to UF
to major in pre-pharmacy.
As a sophomore with most
of the basic courses
completed, I was looking
for an interesting class to
take. I decided to take
'. the introductory soil
science course, SOS 3022,
on a whim because it sounded fun and different; I
had no idea that there was such a thing as soil
science at all. I ended up really enjoying the class
and lab, so much so that I decided to switch my
major to Soil and Water Science. My undergraduate
experience in the department was excellent because
the classes were stimulating and there was a lot of
personal interaction with the professors. Later on I
took advantage of the 3-2 program, which allowed
me to take graduate courses as an undergraduate
and finish both my bachelor's and master's degrees in
5 years total. I received my BS degree in May, 2006
and graduated with my MS degree in May, 2007 in
But what do soil and water science students do after
graduation? With a few weeks to go until
graduation, I met the then-State Conservationist of
Florida, Niles Glasgow, at a meeting at UF about the
undergraduate Soil and Water Science program. He
wanted to see my resume, and so I eagerly ran down
to my graduate student office to print one off. I later
set up a job interview with him for a career intern
soil scientist position with NRCS in Florida. He was
happy to see that I had experience with field and lab
work, GIS, and remote sensing.
I began working for the NRCS in Quincy, FL the
month after graduation. Our team is currently
working on updating the soil survey in Washington
County. My main tools in the field are a truck, a few
augers, a GPS unit, the field book for describing and
sampling soils, a Munsell color book, a tablet PC and
maps. This job also allows me to continually increase
my knowledge base with formal training every year. I
am glad that I was able to get the knowledge and
experience at UF that helped me to succeed as a soil
scientist. Go Gators!