Jeffrey G. Skousen
2015 Recipient of the Golden Auger Award
Dr. Jeff Skousen grew up on a 300-acre farm in eastern Oregon where irrigation was used to produce alfalfa and potato crops. He grew up with a shovel in his hand and learned to dig fast in the sandy soils of the area because the ditches washed out and continually needed repairing. During undergraduate and graduate work in Utah, Jeff dug hundreds of pits and classified the soils for a three-year research project on big game habitat restoration.
Since he came to WVU in 1985, Jeff has been an advocate for responsible reclamation and the wise use of mined and disturbed lands. He is one of the nationís top experts on land reclamation. His research has educated the mining industry and the public on; methods to achieve reforestation; technologies for predicting, controlling, and treating acid mine drainage; and the application of soil science and ecological principles in reclamation. All of these efforts have been directed toward imporving the future potential uses for mined lands.
As an educator at WVU, Jeff teaches classroom courses in soil science, reclamation, environmental protection, and watershed management. As a representative of the WVU Extension Service, Jeff delivers a state-wide educational program on reclamation through consultations, seminars, and workshops; and presents to research faculty, state agencies, WVU Cooperative Extension Service staff, and the mining industry. Jeff is also active in the education of West Virginiaís youth. For many years, Jeff has promoted and coordinated the FFA and 4-H land judging programs in West Virginia. These are the programs that steer young people to careers in soil science, conservation, and agriculture. Land judging is often a young personís first introduction to the scientific principles which are the foundation of conservation, soil survey, and land use planning. Jeff has also been a friend of collegiate soil judging, allowing his farm to be used as a practice site for the Southeast Regional Soil Judging contest that was hosted by WVU in October of 2011 and again during the 2012 National Collegiate Soils Contest the following spring.