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Press Release

NRCS, Conservation Districts Promote Soil Health at Fort Adams May 13-22 for Ocean Race-Newport Stopover

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NRCS staff members April Dean, Crystal Lavin and Jim Turenne setup our Soil Health Tunnel for the Newport Stopover of The Ocean Race!

NRCS) is excited to be co-hosting a soil health exhibit with our partners – the Eastern, Northern & Southern Conservation Districts of Rhode Island – at the Exploration Zone at Fort Adams State Park from May 13-21 as part of the Newport Stopover of The Ocean Race.

Join us Saturdays and Sundays over the next two weeks to learn about soil health!

Did you know? Soil is not an inert growing medium – it is a living and life-giving natural resource. It is teaming with billions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that are the foundation of an elegant symbiotic ecosystem.

The NRCS and District exhibit will feature an inflatable, interactive Soil Health Tunnel that provides a walk-through experience for children and adults to learn about the importance of our soil. It teaches how soils form, their biological composition and benefits to people and the environment.

What is Soil Health?

Soil health is the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Healthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Soil does all this by performing five essential functions:

  • Regulating water: Soil helps control where rain, snowmelt, and irrigation water goes. Water flows over the land or into and through the soil.
  • Sustaining plant and animal life: The diversity and productivity of living things depends on soil.
  • Filtering and buffering potential pollutants: The minerals and microbes in soil filter, buffer, degrade, immobilize, and detoxify organic and inorganic materials, including industrial and municipal contaminants and atmospheric deposits.
  • Cycling nutrients: Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and many other nutrients are stored, transformed, and cycled in the soil.
  • Providing physical stability and support: Soil structure supports plant roots. Soils also support human structures and protect archeological treasures.

About The Ocean Race Exploration Zone

Ocean Hour Farm & 11th Hour Racing organized the soil/composting education tent to bring together community organizations – including NRCS and Rhode Island’s conservation districts – focused on composting, soil health, stormwater management, the soil food web, and best lawn care practices as part of the Exploration Zone during the Newport Stopover of The Ocean Race.

The Exploration Zone, presented by BankNewport, is uniquely created to inspire and inform all ages on the sport of sailing and the many facets of sustaining a clean ocean. The Exploration Zone will feature exhibits showcasing local nonprofits and mission-related organizations.

The Ocean Race is sailing’s toughest team challenge – an around-the-world contest often described as the longest and toughest professional sporting event. It is a round-the-clock pursuit of competitive edge and the ultimate ocean marathon, pitting the sport’s best sailors against each other across the world’s toughest waters. The race visits Newport for nine days of celebration, public activities, and fun for the entire family at the Ocean Live Park in Fort Adams State Park.

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