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VT Soil Education

VT Resource Soil Scientists help educate K-12 students on the wonders of soil

students participate in the EnvirothonThe two Resource Soil Scientists in Vermont, Thom Villars and Caroline Alves have helped spread the word about soils to Vermont students. Thom has spearheaded the teaching of soils curriculum in the Vermont  Envirothon. He also has been an integral part of Vermont High Scholl Land and Soil Judging Contest for many years. Both Thom and Caroline have helped with various Conservation Field Days around the state. Elementary, Middle and High school students love the chance to be outdoors and learn about the natural world.

Soil is one of the most important pieces of the ecosystem and is often not studied enough. Dr. David Lindbo, president of the Soil Science Society of America,  states in a recently published book Know Soil Know Life, “We don’t see soil. We walk on it, but we don’t see it. Unlike air and water, we don’t take soil directly into our bodies, making it less obvious how we rely on it. Nor is it easy for us to tell when soil is polluted". 

Many do not have an opportunity to take a soils class until college. Another co-editor of the book, Deb Kozlowski, a soil scientist and grade school teacher, states “I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as soil science until I went to college. So, we want kids to grow up knowing about soil science, and that it is a bona-fide field of science that you can make a living at". The Vermont Soil Resource staff is making sure students will get a chance to learn about soil long before they reach college.

Useful Links:

Resources for K-12 Teachers

Four Challenges Soil Science Must Overcome to Remain Relevant in the Future

Soil Erosion tables are a great way to demonstrate how soils are held in place by turf and mulch. Bare soil erodes at a much greater rate when "rain" is applied with a watering can.
 Students use Erosion Table