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Technical Service Center

2008 Earth School

By Bill Kepler, Manager of Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory
Photos by Lisa Krosley, Geologist Trainee

Amster Howard

Amster Howard, Reclamation Retiree, Visual Soil Classification Instructor
  

The TSC Materials Engineering and Research Laboratory and Engineering Geology Groups united forces again this year to present the Visual Classification of Soils, a three-day Earth School, in the TSC laboratories during the week of February 12th. The goals for the training included introducing participants to the Unified Soil Classification System to providing the tools and knowledge necessary to determine engineering properties of soils in the field, and having fun. Based on feedback from participants, the training was a success on all counts.

Amster Howard, Reclamation retirement class of '94, was on hand to contribute his considerable expertise in the area and to ensure no one left the lab without a smile on their face. Mr. Howard, often referred to as a soils guru or simply "Mr. Earth School," has been involved with this historic training for more years than he would want mentioned. ( It's over 30 but don't tell him it was published.) A long-standing member of the American National Standards Institute, in particular the American Society for Testing and Materials Standards, Mr. Howard is personally responsible for much of the Unified Soils Classification System as we know it today. Additionally, and possibly most importantly, Amster is a personable individual and an obviously gifted speaker and instructor.

Tony Wahl

Tony Wahl, Reclamation, instructor.

The 30 participants came from all corners of Reclamation, the Corps of Engineers, and the State of Colorado Dam Safety Office. The students were treated to one day of presentations covering a wide variety of topics, carefully doled out over the three days to maintain momentum, blended with two days of hands-on instruction. The class learned a large variety of techniques to visually deduce the engineering characteristics of soils such as determination of grain size distribution, dilatancy (ability to retain moisture), plasticity (moldable quality), dry strength, toughness, and more. In short, all participants came away from the training with a much expanded capability in visual identity of soils.

This was the second school offered in the past year. This year we offered the class to Reclamation and also to other Federal agencies. A special thanks was extended to Ms. Patti Martines for her significant assistance in getting the school up and running and her always-cheerful demeanor. Because of the success of this training and the inability to provide the training to all interested parties, a third session of Visual Classification of Soils, a Mini-Earth School, is tentatively scheduled sometime after the first of the next year. For more information regarding the future training please contact Bill Kepler.

Earth School Group Photo

Earth School Feb 2008 Group Photo (Click on photo for closer view) —- (1) Tony Wahl (instructor), (2) Ben Claggett, (3) John Murphy (missing in the photo), (4) Robert Kneten, (5) John Danko, (6) Arthur Reis, (7) Matthew Gavin, (8) Steven Morgan, (9) Domnique Merricks, (10) Joe Gemperline, (11) Robert Schieffer, (12) James Thornburg, (13) Marcia Jones (instructor, missing in the photo), (14) John Doering, (15) Carol Jean Hansen, (16) Kevin Gagner, (17) Terri Saumier, (18) Carrie Larson, (19) Roger Stansbury (facilitator), (20) Dustin Bedoya, (21) Anastasia Johnson, (22) Tom Cyre, (23) Laura Gaudier, (24) Chris Larson, (25) David King, (26) Brenda Adams, (27) Tim Gonzales, (28) Ellen Jim (facilitator, missing in the photo), (29) David Jackson, (30) Matt See, (31) Lalena Weasel, (32) Doug Hurcomb (instructor), (33) Steve Reo (facilitator), (34) Veronica Madera, (35) Bonnie Castro, (36) Kelley Kaltenbach, (37) Lisa Krosley (instructor), (38) Todd Dooley, (39) Amster Howard (instructor), (40) Zeynep Erdogan (instructor), (41) Jeff Farrar (instructor)

Students in class

Left to right: Tim Gonzales and Lalena Weasel, Reclamation

Anastasia Johnson

Anastasia Johnson, Reclamation

Students in class

 

 

 

Left to right:  Carrie Larson, Dustin Bedoya, John Doering, and Theresa Saumier, Reclamation

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Claggett

Ben Claggett, Reclamation

Joe Gemperline

Joe Gemperline, Reclamation

Laura Gaudier

Laura Gaudier, Corps of Engineers

Students in class

From left to right:  Kevin Gagner and Todd Dooley, Reclamation (potential instructors for the next year's class)

2008 Earth School

James Thornburg, Reclamation

2008 Earth School

Matthew Gavin, State of Colorado Dam Safety Office

2008 Earth School

Left to right: David King, Chris Larson, Corps of Engineers

2008 Earth School

Domnique Merricks, Corps of Engineers


2008 Earth School

2008 Earth School
2008 Earth School 2008 Earth School
2008 Earth School
2008 Earth School 2008 Earth School

 

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