Soil is the medium of life. It provides essential nutrients so that our agricultural crops can produce bountiful harvests. It filters pollution and impurities from our water. It allows forests to grow and clean our air. The Soil, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences degree combines interests in monitoring environmental change, conserving soil and assuring healthy streams while shaping new policies and educating others about the environment. Careers include Environmental Specialists, Soil Conservationist, Soil Scientists, and Water Quality Specialists. Environmental specialists find employment with federal, state, county and city government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation, or the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as well as numerous private consulting firms. They use their broad technical knowledge and understanding of ecosystems to provide expertise in situations involving a variety of environmental issues, which could include air and water quality, waste management, and responsible land use. Soil conservationists and soil scientists often are employed by state and federal agencies such as the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are responsible for working with landowners, especially farmers, to ensure that soil conservation practices are in place on the land. They use their knowledge of the physical properties, tillage, chemistry and fertility of soils to make agriculture more productive while protecting the environment. They may also use their knowledge to perform onsite investigations for various land uses. Water quality specialists also find employment with government agencies and private consulting firms. They are responsible for monitoring rivers, lakes and streams for potential pollution from erosion and runoff, as well as ensuring that wells and other sources of municipal drinking water are safe.