Professor Emeritus Art Peterson Remembered

Art_Peterson_Faculty1992The Department of Soil Science is saddened to announce that on Monday, January 26, 2015, Professor Emeritus Art Peterson passed away at the age of 91. Art’s boundless energy led to an amazing list of accomplishments. He was a frequent visitor to department events and his presence will be greatly missed.

Funeral services will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave, Madison on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held at the church on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service. Donations may be made in Art’s name to West Madison Little League or TV Media Ministry of Bethel Lutheran Church. For more on the life and accomplishments of Art or to leave a memory, please see his obituary at Cress Funeral Services.

2015 Declared International Year of Soils

LOGO_IYS_en_PrintThe 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils! According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “the International Year of Soils (IYS) 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions”. Events are planned around the globe. Check out the following links for more information on the International Year of Soils on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Soil Science Society of America, and the International Union of Soil Scientists websites.

Recent Retirements

lowery_smThe first recent retirement in the Department of Soil Science was of a great mentor, Birl Lowery, in early August. Birl served on the faculty for 36 years, including time as the department chair and the senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was a warm-hearted teacher in Soil Science 322: Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management for decades and mentor to many graduate students.

Kevin McSweeney. copyright Michael Forster Rothbart - UW-Madison University CommunicationsComing quickly on the heels of Birl’s departure was Kevin McSweeney‘s announcement that he was retiring and joining the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The department was delighted when Kevin returned to our department a couple of years ago from the UW Arboretum. Kevin received his PhD at UIUC, and his spouse, Jacqueline Hitchon, has been recruited as professor and head of the Department of Advertising there.

news_bockheimRounding out the departures is Jim Bockheim, a pillar of the department for over 39 years, who retired on January 2, 2015. Jim has long been a leading light in the study of cold soils. His energetic and prodigious fieldwork in the Arctic and Antarctic both documented these soils and inspired his theoretical contributions on their genesis and how they are best classified. In recent years, he has taught Soil Science 324: Soil and Environmental Quality, with great reviews.

-Bill Bland, Chair