Tim Spedding

Tim Spedding understands the “wonder of soil.” To Tim, soil isn’t just dirt, “it is an amazingly thin layer between the cold dark earth and the atmosphere.” It was an enthusiastic professor during his undergraduate studies who showed Tim how soil “is so diverse, and how fundamental it is to all of our terrestrial systems.” Almost a decade later, with a B.Sc. with Honours in Geology and an M.Sc. in Soil Science, Tim is a professional Soil Scientist with Komex International. In the summer months, he works in the field, often in remote locations for weeks at a time.

He performs everything from preliminary environmental site assessments to remediation work. Once the season is over, Tim spends most of his time behind a desk, analyzing data, finalizing reports, and summarizing his fieldwork. Tim enjoys the variety of responsibilities and the autonomy his job offers. “We do run our projects a lot ourselves…this job offers a lot of management responsibility.”

He also is happy to be employed in a profession where there is an unprecedented demand for soil scientists. “The industry is on fire, and it’s only just going to keep on growing.” But, Tim says, much of what soil scientists do goes unrecognized and unappreciated by the public. He points out that his job is more than just the study of dirt. “Soil is a medium that contains so many of life’s processes…it’s pretty amazing.” He adds that, for many people, soil is not considered a natural resource in need of protection. “It’s viewed more as something you need to excavate if you want to build a house.” Tim looks forward to the day when the importance of soil science—and soil scientists—is fully recognized “because the role of soil, and the people who study it, is fundamental” to the health of our environment.