Deborah Henson

Associate Department Head for Teaching & Curriculum, Department of Environmental Conservation
Environmental Science Program Manager & Chief Undergraduate Advisor;
Senior Lecturer II


Phone: +1 (413) 545-5226

Office: 310 Holdsworth Hall

Primary Interests

My disciplinary focus is in soil science and wetland science. I am a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with research interests in vernal pool hydropedology, hydric soil characterization, and plant-soil interactions in wetland environments.

Recent Projects

  • Vernal Pool Hydropedology Study –assessing soil morphology, carbon storage, and denitrification potential in multiple vernal pools across southern New England
  • Plant-Soil Interactions in Calcareous Wetlands   — describing the hydrogeochemical cycles of calcareous sloping wetland systems in Berkshire County, MA, and correlating environmental variables with plant species distribution patterns across these systems.
  • Massachusetts Wetland Delineation Manual – 2022 revision — updating the Hydric Soils chapter of this MADEP publication.

Courses Taught

ENVIRSCI 364 /564H – Environmental Soil Science (Fall)

ENVIRSCI 191A & 194A – Intro Environmental Science Seminars I & II (Fall & Spring)

ENVIRSCI 294A – Career & Curriculum Planning Seminar (Spring)

NRC 568– Wetland Soils (alternate Springs)

STOCKSCH 106 — Soil Science & Management (on-line, Summer & Fall)

Selected Recent Publications

Book chapters

Henson, D.J. “Soil Science” (chapter) in Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist Training Manual. Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association (2016) CD/Electronic format. Pp. 43

Picking, D. J., “Soil Science & Management.”  Massachusetts Arborist Association 2011; Massachusetts Certified Arborist Study Guide Version 2.0.  CD/Electronic format. Pp. 43

Picking, D. J., Massachusetts Landscape Professionals’ Certification Study Guide, Version 5.0. Chapter 2: “Soil Biology and Composting Basics.” Associated Landscape Contractors of Massachusetts, 2008. 

Refereed Journal Articles

Picking, D And P.L.M. Veneman, 2004. Vegetation Patterns in a Calcareous Sloping Fen of Southwestern Massachusetts, USA. Wetlands, 24 (3): 514-528.

Non-refereed Articles:

Tiner, R.W., P.L.M. Veneman, L.A. Spokas, and D.J. Picking. 2011. Wetlands of the Eastern and Southern Shores of Lake Ontario: Project Completion Report. Department of Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Prepared for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS. 36 pp. plus appendices