To celebrate the International Year of Soil in 2015, the Soil Science Society of America has developed a set of educational videos, each focusing on a different aspect of soil for each month of the year.
Related: USDA to observe 2015 'Year of Soils'
July's theme is "Soils are living." According to July's IYS monthly leader Mary Stromberger, a soil scientist at Colorado State University, "soil is a living, dynamic natural resource. It helps us sustain life—but it doesn't do its job alone. The biodiversity of life in soil is critical to a healthy world."
The video walks viewers through the important living aspects of soil, such as the creatures that make their homes there and the microbes that help soil fertility.
A few important aspects of soil and soil life:
• Larger animals like gopher turtles and burrowing owls make their homes in soil. The soil protects them from weather and predators.
• Insects often live in soil, too. The give back by creating tunnels and helping aerate the soil.
• Bacteria and fungi—referred to as microbes—live in the soil. These tiny creatures provide essential services like converting nitrogen from the air into a form that plants can use for food. They decompose organic matter and aid in weathering of rocks to provide plant nutrients.
July's video and the six videos for January-June can be accessed on the Soil Science Society of America's website.
Coming topics include soil's relation to people and culture, environmental protection, climate and health.
The United Nations declared 2015 the Year of Soils in December, 2014. Since then, other federal and international groups have participated in the movement, including the UN's own Food and Agriculture Organization and the USDA.
SSSA says the goal of IYS and of its videos is to raise public awareness of the value of soils and soil science; visibility of soil scientists in their communities; and, highlight its website, soils.org as the premiere place to find soils information.