The course Soil Resources (SOIL/AGRO 153) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln introduces soil survey reports in a land use planning class project. The project involves six activities: (1) selecting an appropriate land area based on projected use; (2) collecting data on land use capabilities from the soil survey report; (3) designing a detailed land use plan; (4) writing recommendations and rationales for the plan; (5) drawing a map showing locations allotted to each activity; and (6) making an oral presentation summarizing the plan. Student responses to a survey related to the activity did not differ between agriculture and natural resource majors regarding the importance of soil for crop production. Both groups of majors had increased regard for the importance of soil characteristics for urban planning. This regard decreased sharply by the end of the semester. The activity did not change either group's regard for the importance of soil characteristics for natural resource conservation. The activity enhances students' understanding of soil behavior by giving them first-hand experience in gathering and interpreting soil data. The activity enables students to relate soil concepts with concrete situations. The activity also results in change in students' appreciation of soil properties for making reliable land use decisions.



land use planning, soil survey reports

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