John Galbraith, associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, coached the team of Croatia and Serbia to fifth place in the group judging event at the First International Field Course and Soil Judging Contest in Gödöllő, Hungary. Seventy students and young professionals from 28 countries and six continents attended the training and competed in the soil judging contest, held to commemorate 2015 as the International Year of the Soil.
Sixteen teams were formed, and Galbraith was asked to coach the team of two men from Croatia and two women from Serbia. That team finished behind fourth place Spain, third place Hungary, second place U.S., and first place the Uganda, Sudan, and South Africa team. The Croatia-Serbia team finished in eighth place overall. “I am extremely proud of the young people who competed for Croatia and Serbia. They had never been in a contest before, and had not even met each other (or their coach) until the night before the training. Like the other teams, they met other potential colleagues, enjoyed the event and learned a great deal. This proves the value of soil training and soil judging contests in improving the field skills of young soil scientists.”
The U.S. team won the overall trophy and had the high individual (Kristen Pegues of Auburn). The contest followed four days of lectures and field training of soil description and classification. Galbraith presented two lectures on soil profile property assessment and classification after helping to organize the contest handbook and develop training materials. He represented Virginia Tech and the International Union of Soil Science, where he is Chair of Commission 1.4 Soil Classification.