Durham’s Dirt Diggers (No Offense, Soil)

Tim Durham, a professor of plant science, spoke to us about the ecstatic skin of the Earth: soil. Now, when you think soil, you think dirt. However, Durham made it very clear to us that soil is not dirt. Not very exciting, right? You could never be more wrong. Durham made soil exciting. Motivational even. To the point where one of my friends emailed him to ask about something, we learned (plasticulture on farms) after Durham left. Throughout the week we learned that soil classifies into three textures: sand, silt, and clay. Needless to say, we experienced a particular soil texture and its properties in full.

One day, it poured. It rained and Blacksburg seemed as though a bucket of water was dumped on its head. However, our volleyball tournament, the opportunity for us nerds to show off our athletic prowess, was on Sunday. We had close to zero experience when it came to volleyball excluding what we had learned from TV. Durham taught us about the porous nature of sand and its ability to not absorb water. We found out he was too right when we showed up to the court and found our practice ruined. We found a puddle, the size of a lunar crater, in center court. Did this stop us? Of course not, that would be logical. So we played in the water and furthered our skills. 

Sunday came and we experienced sand with five senses. We ate sand. Literally and figuratively. Throughout our 3-day practice for the tournament that would forever change our lives, we made it our mission to point out the different types of soils that surrounded us such as the illustrious sandy loam and crafty clay silt loam. We had a blast learning about soil and experiencing it in full too.


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