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Public Lecture Sneak Peek: Soils, Carbon, and the Global exCHANGE

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Amelia: Hello and Welcome to a sneak preview of our Western Region Evening Public Lecture for April 30th!

Amelia : I'm Amelia Barrales and today we have with us USGS Soil Scientist Jennifer Harden. Thank you Jennifer for chattin' with us today.

Jennifer: Oh, thanks Amelia, it's great to be here.

Amelia: You are giving a talk at the end of the month of April entitled "Soils, Carbon, and Global exChange" ... This talk seems like a lot of work and complicated in some ways. Why did you agree to give this talk?

Jennifer: Well the short answer I guess is providence. I really am ready in my career to provide information that I've gathered over a lifetime of working with soils and I am ready to take the plunge.

Amelia: Being a soil scientist what are some of the questions that most commonly asked of you by the public?

Jennifer: Well certainly, what do you do for the Geological Survey, what's it like to being a woman in the field of soil science, what's it like doing field work, then of course it ranges right into to do you believe in climate change? And What is global change and what's the big deal with soils and carbon?

Amelia: Now are these some of the questions that are going to be addressed in your talk, since you now have a feel of what people want to hear?

Jennifer:  Well yes and no.  Yes of course they'll get insights into what I've been doing for the last 30 years.  What it's like to do field work and umm they'll get a good sense for that data collection what the data looked like, but I think far more important is umm that if I do my job well, they'll learn that it's not really about the answers that they're asking as it is about continuing the dialog or perhaps even starting the dialog between the public and scientists and I think it's a dialog that's been getting weaker and I would really like to fill that gap and also that if I do my job they'll understand that its about the questions and the complexity and just a deeper understanding of the nature of the questions, but also where to go for information!

Amelia:  Well, I hear you have a kindergarten song about soils ... what inspired you to do a song about soils for kindergartners? 

Jennifer: I know why soils right?  What a dull thing, well that's exactly what happened. I was teaching the kindergartners soils and boy the state factors of soil formation just not exciting enough so we developed a little soil and we'd come in from the field and take all our soil samples and we'd sit down and sing a song!

Amelia: [laughter] Okay, is this something you will be sharing with us with us today or will we have to wait till your lecture?    

Jennifer:  Oh no, you have to wait till the lecture.  I'll try to get some little elves to help me out there.

Amelia : Alright, well to hear this song, and the rest of Jennifer's talk, you'll just have to tune into the lecture on April 30th.

Amelia: Thank you so much Jennifer for the sneak preview of your talk! 

Jennifer: Thanks Amelia it's been fun.

Amelia: If you are interested in learning more about Jennifer's upcoming lecture and to view any of our previous lectures, please visit our USGS Evening Public Lecture Series website at Her video will be available online on May 1st for viewing.  

Amelia: Thank you for your interest in our Evening public lecture series. Until next time, I'm Amelia Barrales.

This a production of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior. 

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Title: Public Lecture Sneak Peek: Soils, Carbon, and the Global exCHANGE


  • Studying Arctic Changes during the International Polar Year
  • Why soils aren't just for growing crops
  • What does carbon have to do with global weather and climate?
  • Balancing tradeoffs between the carbon cycle, econoic concerns, and the environment
  • Making choices-- from household decisions to national policies

Speaker: Jennifer Harden, USGS Soil Scientist

Location: Menlo Park, CA, USA

Date Recorded: 4/6/2009

Audio Producer: Amelia Barrales , U.S. Geological Survey

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

Part of the USGS Western Region Public Lecture Series.

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Tags: Arctic ClimateChange WRLectureSeries carbon environment soils



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