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UWSP Urban Soils students offering free soil testing Saturday

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:10 AM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Students at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point will over free soil testing on Saturday, May 14.

Now is the time many people may be thinking about planting and gardening. Students taking the urban soils course will offer free soil testing to analyze the overall quality of the soil.

UWSP’s SoilSHOP event is happening for the second time, the last time it was held was in 2016. The SoilSHOP event includes free soil testing and soil education for people in the community.

Students and faculty will screen and measure the soil for five main components: texture, organic matter, pH, electrical conductivity and lead. All people have to do is collect a sample of soil, bring it to the university to be analyzed, and then students and faculty will meet with those who bring in their soil to go over the results and offer any recommendations to make it better, if needed, all in the same day.

“If you’re gardening, you know, you want to have a fertile soil that’s going to hold a lot of water so you can have a successful garden. That’s one very simple reason. Another reason is that you might have a potential contaminant and one property we’re also testing is for lead, and that could be a human health concern,” associate professor of Soil Science at UWSP, Bryant Scharenbroch said.

Scharenbroch said results can take 15 to 30 minutes. And, while people are waiting for their results, recent graduates from the College of Natural Resources will also be there talking about soil education so people can learn more about what their results mean.

The purpose of SoilSHOP is not only to offer the community free soil testing and education but students also get the chance to interact with the community.

“These are our students in the class that are doing these interpretations as well too. So it’s a really great opportunity for them to learn and also teach others about some of the knowledge that they’ve acquired in the coursework,” Scharenbroch explained.

Anyone is welcome to bring a sample of soil. There will be events for kids as well and it’ll all take place next to the campus’ Sundial outside and in the Trainer College of Natural Resources building. It’ll be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 14.

For more information about the event, and how to collect a sample of soil, click here.

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