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2017 Summer Field Tour – save the date

 CFSC 2017 Summer Field Tour:

Swanton Pacific Ranch, in Santa Cruz County

September 7-9, 2017

Register here!

Yep, it’s a bit of a departure to have our summer tour so late in the season, but such a fantastic, central location will be worth it!

Swanton Pacific Ranch is a component of the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, natural resources and environmental sciences program, and is a great research facility, near gorgeous beaches and forests.

Stay tuned for info about topics, site visits, and speakers. And, of course, send any questions to!

Soils are us!!

Here’s a great story about one of our soil buddies published in the Alliance of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science Societies’ digital library.

Embracing Soil Complexity while Communicating it Simply: A Day in the Life of Phil Small

by Madeline Fisher

As an art major at the University of California–Davis, consulting soil scientist Phil Small says he always dug clay much more than the ceramics made with it. But it was a summer job on a farm that really sparked his interest in soil. After graduating with a B.S. in soil and water science in 1977, Small worked as a soil scientist for many West Coast companies and organizations, including the Yakama Indian Nation and Agrimanagement, Inc., before founding his own company, Land Profile, in 1992. Now based in Spokane, WA, Small recently spoke with Soil Horizons about what he’s learned during his long career, as well as his latest fascination: biochar.

Read on…


Beaver Believer

Some of our members are firm believers in these critters as ecosystem engineers. This recent article and study provides good overview at new data on historical range of beavers in CA and ecological restoration benefits. If you get really jazzed about this, look for the group and support their endeavors by donating to their Kickstarter campaign. The recent article in Bay Nature Magazine is located here:

Slope Growth–Advanced Erosion Control System

One of the unique attributes of SlopeGrowth is the development and custom use of our highly engineered patented soil. The ‘handmade’soil system is stronger than today’s popular choices and aids in the growth of all types of vegetation. Studies show that the success of vegetation on a cut slope is dependent on a soil base of 12 inches or greater to retain moisture. The SlopeGrowth method requires only 4 inches of its blended soil. The SlopeGrowth Soil insures growth of vegetation though natural nutrient release and can hold in excess of 5X the water of natural soil and retain in excess of 5X the water of the other vegetation system. SlopeGrowth Solid is an artificial soil composition that includes peat, granular soil, bio-solids and wood mill tailings is combined with SlopeGrowth Fertilizers. The composition covers a stabilization material which has been secured over the sloped surface. The plants grow in the layer of artificial soil which has an increased adhesion to the inclined surface because of the stabilization materials interaction with the formula used to make the SlopeGrowth Soil. The secret of the SlopeGrowth success is found in combining the SlopeGrowth Artificial Soil formula, the SlopeGrowth fertilizers, the Specified Stabilization Material, and the Patented Application Process. The systems works together to produce increased plant growth, retain water to a greater extent than regular soil, and successfully eliminate erosion problems without causing environmental hazards resulting from the leaching of compounds in the runoff water.

Soil science: Healing our planet’s ills from the ground up

Under our feet and ubiquitous, lowly soil can be easily overlooked when it comes to addressing climate change and population growth. But in the January-February issue of the Soil Science Society of America Journal, a team of scientists say soil is an essential piece of the biosphere and more attention should be paid to protecting it. Continue reading Soil science: Healing our planet’s ills from the ground up