Hello! My name is Kelly Floro. I am a rising junior at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where I study environmental science with a concentration in ecology. This subject has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, and my love of the outdoors has always spurred my passion for environmental studies and sustainability. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, beekeeping, gardening, and baking. I’m very excited by the opportunity to spend this summer conducting fieldwork at Hubbard Brook. It has thus far proved to be a wonderful way to learn more about my field of study while spending time outdoors getting acquainted with the White Mountains—in particular, with the soils.
I am working with Dr. Scott Bailey on a project to characterize the variability in soil properties throughout the Hubbard Brook valley. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the C horizon (which is essentially the bottom-most, least weathered layer of the soil). I want to find out how the properties of the C horizon, especially with regard to water flow, vary throughout the experimental forest. How easily does water flow through the soil? What is the relationship between water flow and properties such as soil structure, particle size, and density? We know that soils throughout this region are derived from materials that were deposited by glaciers during the last ice age, but are subtle differences in the nature of this glacial material influencing soil characteristics and hydrology?
Understanding water flow and deep soil characteristics is important because it tells us much about the properties of the soil and landscape through which that water is moving. It can tell us about soil stability and flooding potential for land use purposes, and can provide insight into how soils in this region were formed. Furthermore, by understanding how quickly water flows and in what direction, we can predict how nutrients and environmental pollutants carried by water are moving and where they might end up, which has implications for both human and environmental health.
I am so thrilled to be participating in this project, and look forward to the research ahead of me. Thanks so much for taking the time to check out this blog! I’ll be happy to keep everyone posted on my work as the summer progresses.