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Stewarding Our Soil

Our planet and its 7 billion people face a number of challenges, many of them concerning providing enough food and water for a growing population. And soil science plays a fundamental role in meeting those challenges.

“Since most of our food comes from the land that filters our waters and we are solely dependent on this planet, we will have to manage it wisely,” notes Alfred Hartemink, a professor of soil science.

A new funding stream has opened at CALS to help students learn to do just that. Fittingly, it is named after a scholar whose contributions to soil science are internationally renowned and whose teaching style served as an inspiration to generations of students: Francis D. Hole (1913–2002), a professor of soil science and geography.

Among his many achievements, Hole made great contributions to understanding the formation and distribution of soils in Wisconsin. He wrote a seminal book on the soils of Wisconsin and led a grassroots campaign to have Antigo silt loam named Wisconsin’s state soil.

The F.D. Hole Soil Studies and Expedition Endowment will be used to offer hands-on learning experiences for students, in the spirit of Hole’s oft-quoted belief that we should “read each landscape for practical purposes or simply for the pleasure of it.”

“Given the upsurge in soil science we need to make sure that our graduates have field knowledge about the soils of Wisconsin,” says Hartemink. “The fruits of this endowment will be used to enhance field-based studies in the light and vision of Francis Hole. As with many things in life it all starts with fascination and curiosity. The endowment will help foster our students’ fascination for the natural resource upon which we all depend—the soil.”

To help support the F.D. Hole Soil Studies and Expedition Endowment, visit: http://supportuw.org/giveto/soilsstudy.

The UW Foundation maintains more than 6,000 gift funds that provide critical resources for the educational and research activities of CALS.