Forestry student wins national journal article contest

Feb 29, 2012 | Applied and Natural Sciences

For the second consecutive year, a Louisiana Tech University forestry student has taken first place in the undergraduate category of Soil Survey Horizons’ 2011 Student Article Contest.
Daniel Cooke, a junior forestry major from Ruston, coauthored his winning article titled, “Topography and Parent Material Effects on Forest Productivity on a North-Central Louisiana Site” with Dr. William Patterson, assistant professor of forestry in Louisiana Tech’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences.  The article compared soil properties and processes for sites on a hilltop and the hillslope for Wafer Creek Ranch – a 500 acre forested tract west of Ruston owned by Dr. Johnny Armstrong and managed in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy.

Daniel Cooke

“I am thankful to Soil Horizons for holding this contest, and giving students the opportunity to actively participate in their chosen field of study,” said Cooke.  “I am also very thankful to Dr. William Patterson for his assistance and guidance on this article, without which it would not have been completed.
“Participating in this contest was definitely a rewarding experience.  It gave me an opportunity to improve my writing abilities and acquire some of the knowledge and skills necessary to help students like myself further the advancement of both soil and natural sciences in our future professional careers.”
Cooke will receive a one-year membership to Soil Science Society of America, a one-year subscription to the journal Soil Horizons where his article will also be published.  Soil Horizons features stories celebrating the diversity and critical impact of soil scientists and their work, and serves as an outlet for the publication of peer-reviewed papers on global issues and solutions in the study of soils, along with emerging challenges, ideas, unique field experiences, and findings.
Cooke’s article makes it two-in-a-row for Louisiana Tech in the undergraduate category.  Last year, students Tamara Cossey, John Jackson, Jared Allement and Damien Reynolds won for their article, “Soil Profiles, Processes and Forest Types for Two Major Land Resource Areas in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana,” which compared soils and forest composition of the Calhoun Research Station (LSU Ag Center) and Russell Sage Wildlife Management Area.
“That Louisiana Tech School of Forestry students have excelled in this contest shows that they have great ability to collect field data, conduct laboratory experiments, analyze data, and communicate their findings in written reports,” said Patterson.  “Our students excel in teamwork to complete projects such as this one and compete exceptionally well with those from universities with soil science degree programs.
“Daniel and last year’s winners should be very proud of what they have achieved.  I hope this gives them confidence that they can compete with anyone, and are well equipped for graduate school and employment.”
Soil Horizons’ editorial board reviews submissions from around the world for the annual Student Article Contest.  Criteria for each category include originality, creativity, interest, and quality of writing.  Students may write on any topic related to soils, agriculture, field ecology, soil survey, or history of soils.
The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Founded in 1936, the SSSA is the professional home for more than 6,000 members dedicated to advancing the field of soil science.