Sammy Soil is a soil conservation icon for NRCS. Sammy has managed to capture the public’s attention for more than 40 years. Sammy started as a cartoon and now serves as a mascot for the agency.
Sammy has his roots in Tennessee, where retired NRCS District Conservationist Ernest Whitaker created him. Whitaker thought his idea of a cute cartoon figure named Sammy might help teach children about soil conservation and the need for healthy soil management. Working with educators and other NRCS staff, Sammy quickly came to life as valuable teaching tool.
Since 1967, Sammy’s appearance has taken on many forms, just as the soil he represents. Now he is more popular than ever, reaching out to people across the nation and bringing soil health to classrooms.
Sammy spread to NRCS offices across the country. Sammy has changed over the years, and his image has been adopted into many different teaching tools, including coloring books, puppets and full size mascots. Sammy Soil has become a popular figure, making appearances from elementary schools to the halls of the U.S. Capitol.