By: Raven Waldron, N.L. FFA Secretary


            On October 5th, North Lake traveled to Prineville to take part in the Central Oregon District FFA Soils Career Development Event (CDE), competing against perennial state soils contenders, Culver and Crook County, as well as Redmond, Bend, Sherman County and Madras. 

            In the district soils CDE, there are two separate contests: the advanced, or A-team, which is open to the more experienced and skilled competitors from grades 9-12, and the beginning, or B-team event, which is limited to freshmen and sophomores. 

            At the district event, North Lake’s advanced team dominated the competition bringing home the 1st place banner for the sixth consecutive year.  The beginning team also brought home a blue banner in their event for the sixth year in row, and as a team, scored the second highest point total, coming in just behind the North Lake advanced team. 

            North Lake had the top six individual scores in the contest.   Conley Kittredge 1st place with 112 points, Kody Worthington placed 2nd with 106 points, Josh Hand placed 3rd with 104 points, Brad Libolt, Raven Waldron and Felicia Bias all scored 101 points, with Brad winning the tie-breaker to place 4th overall, and Raven winning the tie-breaker to place 5th.

            This is the second year in a row that Conley, Kody, Josh, Brad and Raven all placed in the top five spots at the district contest.

                Other members of the teams include:  Wyatt Smith, Trent Emery and Alexis Martin.

            In the Beginning Contest, Daniel Libolt scored the highest with 97 points.  Barry O’Leary placed 2nd with 95 points, Ethan Murphy placed 3rd with 93 points and Shannon Fisher placed 5th with 91 points. 

            North Lake’s B-team, scored 376 points, which was the second highest team score in the competition, only being outdone by North Lake’s A-team which scored an impressive 423 points.  Crook County’s A-team which placed 2nd in the advanced completion scored 363 points, followed by 3rd place Culver A-team with 349 points.

            Culver’s B-team placed 2nd in the beginning event with 348 points. Sherman County came in 3rd with 317 points.

            Both the North Lake A-team and the B-team will be traveling to Sutherlin to compete in the FFA State Soils CDE on Oct 9-11th.

            During the last five years at the Oregon FFA State Soils Career Development Event, North Lake’s A-team has laid claim to one fifth place finish, two second place finishes, and a State Championship banner for both 2009 and 2010.  North Lake’s B-team has won the 1st place beginning blue banner the last three straight years.

            Mr. Waldron says that North Lake’s success takes root because of dedicated, loyal students, supportive parents and school staff, and in a fundamental change in the way he teaches the topic.  “I don’t teach students how to win contests.  I just teach them to love soil.  Our students are genuinely interested in the subject matter, and in pursuing careers in soil science of other related fields.”  I can only imagine the many curious spectators that have driven by a parked school bus on the shoulder of the road in the middle of winter, and shake their heads in wonder as they observe a crowd of North Lake students poking around through the mud and snowdrifts on a road cut, arguing with their teacher about whether or not they are seeing a Cr layer of soil.  

            The main objective of the Soils Career Development Event is to encourage students to investigate this fascinating resource we call soil, to discover how soils are organized, to learn both how to describe key properties of soils horizons and to interpret them in terms of management practices–and to develop a sense of stewardship for the land.  By learning and understanding important properties of the soil, students will be able to manage the soil wisely and make a number of important decisions about drainage, irrigation, crop selection and erosion control.

Students are required to calculate the slope and determine the soil texture, color and structure, identify mottles, course fragments, horizons and any “special features” like duripans, fragipans and tillage pans.  The students then have to use that information to calculate the available water holding capacity, effective rooting depth, surface and subsoil permeability, water and wind erosion hazard, parent material, site position, internal drainage, drainage feasibility, most intensive crop for the site, erosion control practices, pH corrections and septic tank limitations. 

The North Lake FFA would like to thank LeeRoy Horton, Leon Baker and the Fort Rock Soil and Water Conservation District for all the help, encouragement, educational programs they have provided the students, as well as sponsoring awards for the State Soils Contest.  They’re a great asset to our chapter, school and community.

You can find more information about the North Lake FFA, including other upcoming events by visiting us on facebook.

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