Young Environmental Leaders soil forum at Hart Field Site
Six schools from across the Lower Mid North came together recently for the Young Environmental Leaders soils forum, held at the Hart Field Site.
The students, from Clare, Blyth, Watervale, Manoora, Auburn, Booborowie, Snowtown, Saddleworth and Brinkworth Primary Schools, joined together to learn about the function and importance of soil.
The morning began with students from each school presenting ideas for the environmental topic that their school will focus on for the year. These projects included reducing erosion of a creek-line, reducing plastic pollution, creating a community food garden, looking after bee populations to sustain pollination, and composting and revegetation.
Sarah Noack from the Hart Field Site Group then introduced the students to a soil profile. Sarah spoke about how soil forms in different layers and all the factors that influence the characteristics of these layers.
The morning was a dirty one, with students encouraged to feel the different layers of the soil profile and describe what they felt and what they saw. The fun was continued by digging for ‘home-grown’ vegetables and understanding the role that soil has for these plants and their roots.
The energy levels did not decrease as they were split up and rotated around three different group activity stations. Here the students looked at soil erosion, soil biota and soil texture and pH.
At the soil erosion station students simulated different types of erosion. These included erosion by wind and water. Many of the students said that they did not know there were so many different types of erosion that occur.
The soil biota station saw the students involved in an interactive food web. This made many realise how important the functions of the living organisms in the soil are. They learnt that the biota not only impact below the soil, but also above the soil.
The final station saw the students hands get extra dirty as they learnt about the different textures of soil by making ‘ribbons’. The students felt the difference between the textures of a clay, loam and a sand. To finish this station the students learnt about pH and how you can test soil pH at home.
The Young Environmental Leaders program is supported by the Northern and Yorke Natural Resource Management Board through funding from the National Landcare Program.