2022 General Jeffery Soil Health Award

NLC awards 2022 winner emblem

Dr Oliver Knox

“There are currently people travelling to space in pursuit of mankind’s dreams, but there are some of us still on the planet, protecting our soils and our future. I’ll be using this award to continue to promote the importance of our soils and everyone’s role in maintaining the health of this magical, but limited resource.” Dr Oliver Knox, Associate Professor of Soil Systems Biology and Coordinator of the Cotton Hub at UNE.

Leading soil health champion, educator and researcher, Dr Oliver Knox, is the recipient of the 2022 General Jeffery Soil Health Award for his outstanding efforts to inspire and embed learning and understanding of soil health – from the field to the classroom.

Dr Knox is an Associate Professor in Soil Systems Biology in the School of Rural and Environmental Sciences at the University of New England (UNE), where he reintroduced soil biology into the undergraduate syllabus in 2014.

As the CottonInfo technical lead in soil health since 2016, he has developed and delivered field workshops to land managers in the cotton production areas of Australia. He has written numerous industry articles on soil health and land management, which have included how to access soil resources in NSW and Queensland.

Dr Knox has been instrumental in driving the Soil Your Undies soil health program in Australia. Adapting the idea from an educational campaign for farmers in Canada, Dr Knox brought the program to Australia and modified it to a postal and online citizen science challenge.

In the past two years, it has been undertaken in around 500 classrooms, educating an estimated 12,000 school children in soil health. Dr Knox intends to build on the success of the Soil Your Undies campaign with assistance from the General Jeffery Soil Health Award.