Team Members

LUI Tool Team

The following team made creation of the LUI tool and understanding of the soil on the University Endowment Lands possible.


Mark Bomford, The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm Program Coordinator, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

How did you get involved with soil at the UBC Farm? After working for over 4 years on the UBC Farm as an undergraduate, Mark took over the position of UBC Farm Program Coordinator in 2004. He is responsible for managing the Farm and its programs, including fundraising, administration, human resources, and education. For more information, see the UBC Farm homepage.



Dr. Art Bomke, Associate Professor of Soil Science, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

What interests you about soil?It has been a pleasure to work on illustrating soil science and creating new media tools in support of soil science education. For me, soil science comes alive when I consider the ways in which people interact with and depend on the land. This is why I got into soil fertility as an undergraduate in Southern Illinois and has motivated me ever since. Sustainability requires that we understand soils and their management and the LUI project will make an important contribution to this effort.


Chris Crowley, MET, Instructional Designer/Multimedia Producer, Office of Learning Technology, UBC

What is your attitude towards soil? 

There are two levels. As a farm boy, I always connected soil to crop production and the seasons – ploughing, cultivating, seeding and harvesting. Over the years I’ve learned what a valuable and very limited resource food-producing soils are and the urgent need to preserve them for food production to ensure our own food security.


Saeed Dyanatkar, Technical Producer, Telestudios, Information Technology Department, UBC

What amazes you about soil?
When I was young, I used to watch hours of scientific documentaries including documentaries about geology and soil science. I was very interested in how the scientists could learn about what happened in the past by studying different layers of soil. The fact that soil acts like an archival history of our planet amazes me.

Andy Jakoy, MSc in Soil Science, Retired BCIT Instructor

What is the reason for my interest in soils? I have always been interested in Natural Science. In my early teens, I thought I might become an ornithologist. I grew up in Europe. My father was a forest engineer, but in Europe a forester since the early parts of the 19th century was trusted with the overall aspects of land management under his jurisdiction not just timber mining. While studying forestry I became interested in plant science, but for about fifteen years (1955-1970) I have been searching for a science, which would help me to integrate the complexity of the Natural World and slowly I came to the realization, that the knowledge of soils would help me the most to find at least partial answers. As we all know, we can never really find the truth we can only approach it tangentially. I have found soils the most rewarding and I have made soils the main line of my interest since the early ’70s. The spirit, the enthusiasm and the commitment of the rest of the soil people keep me in this association.


Dr. Maja Krzic, Associate Professor of Soil Science, Faculty of Land and Food Systems / Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Why did you choose soil science for your career?

While working towards my undergraduate degree in plant science, I realized that my interests were much more down to earth, prompting me to switch to soil science, and I never looked back. I was attracted to soil science since it builds upon principals of biology, chemistry, and physics, while allowing one to cross ecosystems as well as political boundaries.

What interests you about soil?
I am interested in soil properties and processes that affect ecosystem responses to land-use practices. My current research focuses on development of soil quality indicators for assessing management impacts on grassland soils, forest soil response to severe mechanical disturbance, and soil compaction susceptibility. I also try to integrate research, teaching, and community education through application of information technology. As part of this initiative, I have overseen development of several web-based, interactive teaching tools that are broadly used in post-secondary institutions across Canada and abroad.

Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology, Faculty of Forestry, UBC

Why did you decide to learn about soil for your career?

Robin Williams once said, “Figure out who you are and be that person.” I have loved dirt from birth, and I naturally gravitated to my first love.

What interests you about soil?

I am interested in soil processes, particularly those governed by mycorrhizal fungi and rhizosphere microbes, that affect plant community dynamics. My current research focus is on the role of mycorrhizal networks in regeneration, competition and diversity in plant communities, and the carbon, nutrient and water flux dynamics that regulate plant and soil patterns. I am investgating how these patterns and processes are being affected by climate change in forest and arctic ecosystems.


Rachel Strivelli, MSc Soil Science Student, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, UBC

What interests you about soil?

I am awed by the fact that while it may not look very dynamic, it is one of the most dynamic places on earth. So much activity, processes, and microcosms exist in a patch of ground that appears to just sit there. 

Why did you decide to learn about soil for your career?
I love fresh fruits and vegetables, and I love being outside. One summer I decided that I was finished working as a waitress; I wanted to combine both of my loves in a summer job. So, I went to work for a biodynamic farm in New Hampshire. I believed that growing food without chemicals was the way to go, but didn’t know much about the process of organic farming. The farmer taught me that soil quality is key- you can aid your plants in surviving disease or pest attacks better if they are growing in a rich, nourishing soil.