Dale County Soil and Water Conservation District’s New Soil Tunnel
(Standing left to right) Dale County NRCS DC Joshua Elliott, Wiregrass RC&D Council member Kurt McDaniel, Wiregrass RC&D Executive Director James Currington, a student, Wiregrass RC&D Council member Estus Walker, State Representative Steve Clouse, and District Education Specialist Janet Benton. (Seated) Camp Oz students
By Janet Benton, SWCS Education Specialist, Dale County, AL
Amid shouts of “Soil Rocks!” and “Soil, you gotta dig it!”, Wiregrass area children are learning the importance of soil in their daily lives.
The Dale County Soil and Water Conservation District visited area schools and youth organizations recently with their newest environmental education tool, the Soil Tunnel. The creation of the three by six foot wooden structure has been a cooperative effort involving the district, the G.W. Long High School Agri-Science Department and the Carroll High School Environmental Science and Art Departments. The project was funded by an education grant through the Wiregrass RC&D Council.
The fun activity simulates a trip underground in order to illustrate the important functions of soil. With the aid of a flashlight, students crawl through the tunnel to view images and objects on the soil tunnel’s walls and ceiling. The activity also includes a separate power point demonstration to enhance the activity and teach students about the importance of soil in our daily lives. Five functions of soil are addressed: water purification, medium for plant growth, materials for humans, habitat for organisms, and waste recycling.
Local high school teachers and students were responsible for the hands-on construction and design of the Soil Tunnel. G.W. Long High School’s agri-science teacher, Mr. Jack Harris and his students built the wooden structure. Carroll High School teachers, Ms. Linda Dees, environmental science, and Pamela Nolin, art, and their students have assisted the district in the tunnel’s design and creation.
Janet Benton, the district’s education specialist commented, “The experience has been an excellent educational experience for the high school students involved as well.” Dale County Soil and Water Conservation District thanks these teachers and students for sharing their expertise in this project. With their help the district has been able to produce a high quality educational tool to be used in our schools in the years to come.