Donald W. Owens

For 34 years Owens has headed Earth Dimensions, Inc., a soils and environmental consulting firm based in upstate New York. In one of his earliest projects, he conducted soil sampling at the Love Canal chemical waste dump that shed light on the seriousness of contamination there and helped lead to a national overhaul of sampling protocol at contaminated sites. Besides running his business, Owens is an avid traveler, often melding trips with his interest in soils. On a recent bird-watching tour in Antarctica he had hoped to get his first glimpse of gelisol (soils formed in permafrost), the only soil order that he has not yet seen, but that didn’t happen. “What a great excuse for a tour to the Arctic in the future!” he says.