Conservation students dig for soil samples
It takes a team to manage 289 acres and 7,000 trees at Tower Grove Park. With a Forestry Team of only three people, the Park looks forward to collaboration with other organizations, especially when it helps teach students about conservation and land preservation.
On July 30 and 31, students from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Outdoor Youth Corps program participated in a Park-wide soil survey. The summer interns collected and cataloged soil samples, which provided essential data in the decision-making process for many forestry related tasks.
Students used our interactive map to locate sample plots within defined sections. Once collected and labeled, the soil samples were sent to the University of Missouri for analysis.
“Knowing specific soil conditions allows us to choose proper tree species for the various sites throughout the Park; helps guide us with our tree pest diagnostics; and provides information to develop plant health care regimens on trees of significance,” commented Andy Berg, Forestry Supervisor. “This project will be a great asset and addition to the abundant amount of data already known.”
Under the shade of oaks, elms and many other species, the students learned hands-on ways to manage projects, including skill building, career exposure and job readiness. It also fostered a connection to the outdoors and conservation work.
The soil analysis included pH, organic matter percentage, phosphorous, potassium, nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium. These are the primary chemical and biological properties of soil that have the largest effect on plant health and will guide the Forestry Team in future management.
As part of our mission to grow our arboretum, we want to expand our ecological diversity, which means sustaining new species of trees and understanding where they will best succeed in the Park. The students’ hard work on our soil analysis will greatly benefit our ability to select sites for future plantings.