Teams of students were asked to analyze samples of soil and dirt and size up its characteristics, which determines potential uses such as for farming, a landfill, septic system or a building foundation.
Soil texture, structure, consistence, its tendency to erode, drainage and potential water issues all come into play for the evaluations. The teams rotated among four sites, each featuring a soil pit and different challenges in terms of slope, proximity to water and other special environmental concerns.
The location of the competition is always kept secret prior to the event, so students can’t cheat and evaluate the dirt beforehand. The competition this was located in Iron Duff area of Haywood County.
Schools from six western counties participated. Tuscola ranked first in three of the four categories and snagged first place overall team. Tuscola Senior Taylor Messer also earned the top individual spot and Jacob Hyatt, also a Tuscola student, won third place.
Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors the competition each fall with help from soil scientists and faculty from Tuscola.