Hydric Soils Online Training Series

Module 3: Describing Soil Color for Hydric Soils Determination
Module Description

This module focuses on describing soil color.  Soil color and the color patterns in soil can tell you a lot about the soil. It is an especially good indicator of soil wetness and hydric soils. The primary components that give a soil its color are soil organic matter, iron, and the color of soil particles. The Munsell Soil Color System is the standard we use to document soil color. When documenting soil color it is important to note matrix color, mottle colors, and type, location and abundance of mottles.

Target Audience

Wetland field practitioners who need expertise in hydric soils and seek to understand how hydric soils are formed and how to recognize and interpret the information they provide when observed in the field.

Module Learning Objectives

By taking part in this online training, participants should be able to:

  • Begin describing soil color
  • Understand basic soil colors and patterns, what colors and patterns tell about the soil and what components give soils their colors
  • Know that the Munsell Soil Color system is used to document soil color
  • Know that documentation of soil color should include: matrix color; mottle colors; and the type, location and abundance of mottles.

Trainer Bio

Lenore Vasilas is a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil scientist on the Soil Science Division Technical Soil Services Staff. She has been a soil scientist for NRCS for 28 years working for the first 7 years on soil survey and the rest of her career in various position concentrating on hydric soils issues. She has been a member of the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils for 20 years and is the current chair of the committee.

Presentation (Vimeo)

Link to Online Quiz

To complete this module, use the following link to access the module quiz on ClassMarker.  Once you complete and submit the quiz, it will be automatically graded and you will receive your quiz score and the correct answers.  Passing the quiz will also qualify participants to download a Certificate of Completion that the participant can submit themselves to accrediting organizations for continuing education credits.

To Take the Quiz and Receive a Certificates of Completion for this Module

Participants who both view the module presentation and complete the module quiz are eligible for an ASWM Certificate of Completion for 0.5 hours of training.

Using the ClassMarker online system, ASWM will ask you to certify that you completed viewing the entire hydric soils training module video presentation.

You will need to develop a username and password in ClassMarker. Once you click on the quiz link, you will be prompted again to provide your name and email address, which will be used to process your certificate.

To receive your certificate you must BOTH:

  1. Certify that you completed viewing of the video presentation.  Answering “no” will result in no certificate being issued.
  2. Complete all 5 quiz questions, getting three or more of the questions correct.  You will be provided three attempts to take the quiz for the module.  If at the end of your third attempt you have not been able to get three or more correct, you will not be eligible to receive a certificate.

You will be prompted to download your Certificate of Participation from ClassMarker after you complete the quiz.

Once you download your certificate, you can then submit the certificate to the accrediting organization of your choice to potentially receive continuing education units/credits.  

Please select the appropriate certificate process:

  • I am an ASWM Member:
    All ASWM members receive free Certificates of Participation for webinars.  Non-Members will be charged a processing fee of $10.00 US.  To receive your free Certificate of Participation, click here.

    If you are not a current ASWM Member, you must select the non-member certificate link to receive your certificate. 
  • I am not an ASWM Member:
    If you are not an ASWM member, please either:

A) Select the Non-member Certificate Option (to begin the module quiz, click here) to get your certificate. All non-ASWM Members are required to pay a $10.00 certificate processing fee.  You will be prompted to pay the processing fee using PayPal, with the option to sign in as either a PayPal member or as a guest (not requiring a PayPal account and using your credit card).  .  

B) We encourage you to go to the ASWM.org website and become a member so that you can receive certificates at no charge for the next 12 months.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Burchill at or contact the ASWM office at (207) 892-3399.