On April 28, 2012, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton
signed a bill into law recognizing Lester as the Official Minnesota
State Soil. This was the result of many Minnesota soil scientists who
worked hard over the years in educating people about the value of
Minnesota’s diverse soil resource. “Although it took 25 years, it was
worth the effort to finally have a State Soil recognized in Minnesota.
Currently there are 22 states that have an official state soil in the
Country”, said Al Giencke, retired NRCS soil scientist.
a State Soil?
Like the other 21 Minnesota state symbols, a visual story of Minnesota can be
told. Looking at symbols such as the Walleye, Red Pine, and Wild Rice, one can
quickly see that the state has
abundant areas of water, forest and agronomic diversity. Lester will tell a
story also. It is a rich and highly productive glacial till soil that formed
under mixed forest and grassland environments. It is well drained, fertile, and
medium textured to a depth of 2 meters. It started its development during the
last glacial period in the state approximately 12,000 years ago.
The Lester name was first proposed in 1939 in McCleod County, Minnesota. It was
named after the town of Lester Prairie. The series was formally established in
1945, in Dakota County, Minnesota. Lester currently is mapped in 16 Minnesota
Counties totaling approximately 400,000 acres. It is used primarily for raising
corn, soybeans and forage. Many of the parks and public land in the southwestern
part of the Twin Cities metro, located in the “Big Woods” area of the state, is
comprised of Lester soils.
Promotion of Lester
The designation of Lester has lead to new opportunities to promote soil and its
wise use. At Gale Woods, Three Rivers Park District, a pit was dug in Lester
soil. Soil scientists made 16 “official” monoliths to give to people and
organizations for promotions purposes. NRCS purchased 5 one of a kind
“synthetic” Lester monoliths for promotion within the state. Recently three NRCS
soil scientists, Kristin Brennan, Janine Anderson, and Kathryn DesForge
conducted a “train the trainer” for educators at Gale Woods. These educators
work primarily with school age students on field trips and summer camps. A state
soil exhibit was developed at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum this summer by
Al Giencke and the Arboretum staff. (see photo) .
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complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil
Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call
(800) 795-3272 (Voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).