Justin Straker

Justin Straker
Position: Soil Scientist, Forest Ecologist
Education: M.Sc. in Soil Science (University of British Columbia), B.A. in Anthropology (McGill University)
Employer: Integral Ecology Group Ltd., Victoria, BC
Personal Webpage: www.integralecologygroup.com

What kind of work do you do?

I work as an environmental consultant, mostly with aboriginal communities and mining companies. I help these clients to understand the effects that human activities are having on the environment, and how to reduce and repair these effects.

How is soil science a part of your job?

The whole world is about soil and water! Soils and watersheds support our whole planet, and our lives on it. I use soil science, particularly the science of soil-plant interactions, all the time. For example, right now I am working on projects that use soil science to: put soils on closed mines to reduce release of undesirable compounds into watersheds; and to understand the effects of industrial air pollutants on soils and the plant communities that they support.

What is the most exciting thing about your job?

I love fieldwork – being outside, collecting data! And then I love the process of working with and listening to those data – trying to understand the story they are trying to tell.

4. What do you like most about your work?

What I like most is both a joy and a duty. I like the fact that I get to contribute to making this planet a better place, and feel that it is my privilege to serve the communities of this world and the ecosystems that can’t speak for themselves.