Emeritus SNRE Soils Professor Chien-Lu Ping received the Soil Science Society of America’s Presidential Award at the society’s annual meeting in Tampa, Florida.
|Chien-Lu Ping poses with his award and soil society|
president Andrew Sharpley.
David Weindorf, the executive producer of a climate change documentary that highlighted Ping’s career, also received the award at the Oct. 24 ceremony. Weindorf, an associate dean at Texas Tech University, taught the arctic soils field tour (NRM 489) with Ping for several years and will help teach the course next summer.
According to the society, the award is given to persons who “have influenced soil science or the practice of soil science so greatly that the impact of their efforts will be enduring on the future of our science and/or profession.”
Ping is known internationally for his work on carbon dynamics in arctic soils. Although he retired from the university in 2015, he has continued to work with Argonne National Laboratory, studying the structure and carbon storage distribution of ice-wedge polygons. Ping will continue field research on the North Slope next summer. He also serves as the major advisor for three natural resources management graduate students.
Ping has had an eventful year. He attended the March release of the documentary “Between Earth and Sky: Climate Change in the Last Frontier” at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C. Ping said the documentary started out to chronicle the soils tour for future students and it turned into something really special, with interviews with scientists, government officials, farmers and other Alaska residents affected by climate change.
“The producer, Professor Weindorf, did a fantastic job,” he said.
The audience at the film festival was very excited about the documentary and Weindorf introduced him at the end of the showing. The documentary includes two of Ping’s former graduate students, retired Natural Resources Conservation Service state soils scientist Mark Clark and Lorene Lynn, who has established her own environmental consulting business.
“I feel honored,” he said. “I’m really pleased to have all those years of effort recognized and to raise the awareness of others to climate change. I feel like a catalyst.”
Another notable event this year was Hurricane Irma. Ping his family live in Orlando, Florida, and weathered the hurricane fairly well with no property damage but they lost their electricity for eight days.
Ping has maintained his commitment to the advancement of science after his retirement. On the average, he says he receives dozen requests per year to review manuscripts for scientific journals. In his spare time, he paints landscapes and wildlife, including dog mushing scenes in oil, as inspired by his dog mushing experience in the Goldstream Valley.