Inaugural Carbon Academy

Dr. Matthew Hamilton presents to undergraduate students interested in soil carbon dynamics. Photo courtesy Maggie Willis.

The Lal Carbon Center successfully hosted its inaugural Carbon Academy Workshop on November 17, 2023, at the Priva Gathering Space located in the new Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex (CEARC), part of Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory.

The fundamental mission of the Carbon Academy is to provide crucial insights into soil carbon dynamics, addressing multifaceted areas such as carbon farming, on-farm carbon credit assessments, soil carbon measurement techniques (including remote sensing and modeling), alongside an exploration of wider themes encompassing policy frameworks, legal considerations, the intersection of carbon with food security, societal valuation of carbon, payments for ecosystem services, and mechanisms embedded within the carbon market. These invaluable insights will cater to diverse audiences invested in the health of soil from soil students to farmers.

Our inaugural Carbon Academy event was an in-person, half-day workshop for undergraduate students interested in soil carbon dynamics. The workshop  featured speakers from the Center’s Carbon Farming Alliance for Research and Management (C-FARM) project, including Dr. Matthew Hamilton, Dr. Rattan Lal, Dr. Klaus Lorenz, and Dr. Tania Burgos-Hernández from the School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Dr. Asmita Murumkar from Ohio State University Extension. Each lecturer focused on a specific aspect of soil carbon, from soil physics to policy to modeling.

Dr. Hamilton initiated the workshop with a lecture entitled Policy dimensions of carbon farming: How institutional factors affect practice adoption, discussing the myriad of social and political decisions that communities consider regarding soil carbon.

Dr. Rattan Lal’s presentation outlined strategies for Managing Soil Carbon for Addressing Global Warming, explaining the physics that govern soil carbon processes and how they impact the climate.

Dr. Murumkar, whose work as an Ecosystem Services Field Specialist focuses on outreach to farmers and agriculturalists, demonstrated digital tools available to model soil carbon in-situ in Decision tools and models for carbon management.

Photo Acoustic Soil AnalyzerThis was followed by a practical demonstration of greenhouse gas measurement with Dr. Klaus Lorenz and Lal Carbon Center Lab Manager Kyle Sklenka using a photo acoustic soil analyzer.

Finally, Dr. Lal emphasized the importance of soil carbon in a broader societal perspective in his lecture Carbon Farming and the Societal Value of Carbon, and how carbon farming may benefit society agriculturally and economically.  

Dr. Tania Burgos-Hernández received feedback from the audience, made primarily of students from her courses.

We would like to give special thanks to Waterman Director Dewey Mann and Program Assistant Jamie Gothard for allowing us use of Waterman Farms and fantastic event support that made our inaugural Carbon Academy Workshop a resounding success. 

The Lal Carbon Center plans to host several Carbon Academies annually, specifically tailored to a variety of audiences, from farmers to graduate students to faculty.

With a focus on the research gathered through the Center’s work on C-FARM, the Carbon Academy hopes to empower all who work with soil to apply principles that protect the health of the soil and the carbon cycle of our precious planet.

Pictures from the event: 

Dr. Matthew Hamilton presents at the 2023 Carbon Academy on soil carbon and policy Undergraduate students attend the Carbon Academy in the Priva Gathering Space Dr. Rattan Lal presents at the 2023 Carbon Academy on global warming

Dr. Asmita Murumkar demonstrates at the 2023 Carbon Academy soil modeling techniques

Dr. Tania Burgos-Hernández gives closing remarks at the 2023 Carbon Academy