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Land reclamation specialist and researcher receives national soil science award

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Jeff Skousen, professor of soil science in the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, NaturalResources and Design and land reclamation specialist for WVU Extension Service, was recently selected as a recipient of the Soil Science Applied Research Award by the Soil Science Society of America.

Jeff Skousen

The award is given to those who demonstrate outstanding achievement in applying research principles to solve practical problems in soil science. To receive the award, the nominee must also have outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service and research.

Skousen is decorated in his accomplishments, but humble in his well-deserved honors.

“I was really surprised when I received the award. I looked at the list of past recipients, and I know several of them and respect them greatly,” he said. “I feel quite honored to be part of that group of individuals.”

Skousen joined the Davis College and WVU Extension faculty in 1986. Over the course of his career at WVU, he has served as president of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation and brought their annual meeting to West Virginia three times. He received the Gerry and Ethel Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service twice, for beginning service in 1994 and for extended service in 2014.

He has shared his expertise with reclamation scholars in South Korea, Canada, China, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Russia and Germany. His active research agenda includes examining the effects of surface and underground coal mining on water quality, and post-mining land use development including reforestation and the use of bioenergy crops. He successfully mentors both 4-H and FFA students and undergraduate and graduate students to gain greater understanding of soil and water science in land reclamation.

Skousen has over 350 publications in journals, books, and media outlets. As an academic and researcher, he organizes the annual Acid Mine Drainage Task Force Symposium. He’s a member of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative and is also the proud editor of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation magazine titled, Reclamation Matters.

“Awards come to individuals, but they really reward a group of people,” Skousen said. “I’d be the first to admit that this award celebrates lots of things that I’ve been a part of. It’s certainly a community of mining and industry people along with regulators, consultants, researchers, students and citizens that have helped me to provide service and research in all those realms.”



CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, 304-293-2381,