Dirt isn’t just the stuff beneath our feet. It’s the stuff of life.
Welcome to our first-ever week of programming for kids!
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Dirt is alive. It’s full of billions of creatures so small you can’t even see them under a microscope. For 10,000 years, dirt has helped humans convert the limitless energy of the sun into the plants and animals we eat to keep us alive. Dirt has been good to us. But it turns out, we haven’t been very good to the dirt. Roll up your sleeves. It’s time to get dirty.
We designed these episodes for kids ages 9-13, but we hope all of our audience enjoys them! You can find all of our kids videos here: https://bit.ly/3hLA3Ro
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Try the dirt experiment featured in this episode for yourself. Get permission from your parent or guardian to visit this link to download and print out instructions (or have them do it for you!): https://www.vox.com/21418935/soil-health-farming-dirt-compost
Special thanks to Rachel Gianni, a consultant we worked with on this week of programming
Additional reading and sources:
Soil Foodweb Institute (Australia): https://www.soilfoodweb.com.au/
Civilizations rise and fall on the quality of their soil (Science Daily): https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131104035245.htm
One amazing substance allowed life to thrive on land (BBC): http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20151205-one-amazing-substance-allowed-life-to-thrive-on-land
The Rhizosphere: An Ecological Perspective (Academic Press, 2007): https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/microfauna#:~:text=4.2%20Microfauna,protists%2C%20nematodes%2C%20and%20rotifers.
The Big Bloom—How Flowering Plants Changed the World (National Geographic): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/prehistoric-world/big-bloom/#:~:text=They%20began%20changing%20the%20way,only%20the%20last%2090%20seconds.
Soil Science Society of America (SSSA): https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/
Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansions (Science): https://science.sciencemag.org/content/300/5619/597
The Science Behind the Three sisters (Cornell University): https://www.cornell.edu/video/first-peoples-first-crops-4-the-science-behind-the-three-sisters
Amazonian Dark Earths: Geoarchaeology. (Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology): https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-0465-2_2252
Why It’s Time to Stop Punishing Our Soils with Fertilizers (Yale Environment 360): https://e360.yale.edu/features/why-its-time-to-stop-punishing-our-soils-with-fertilizers-and-chemicals
Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues (Scientific American): https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-60-years-of-farming-left-if-soil-degradation-continues/
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