Tuesday, May 31, 2022

PA Soil Health Coalition Learning Challenge - 'Soil Your Undies' To Learn More About Soil Health

Chesapeake Bay Foundation has joined the Pennsylvania Soil Health Coalition, undergarments brand “The Big Favorite,” and other organizations to launch a brief campaign challenging everyone to learn about the health of their soil and neighborhood microbes, by planting underwear.

A series of digital activities will invite anyone with a field (row crop or grazing), backyard garden, or lawn to plant a pair of 100 percent cotton underpants. 

Once the undies are planted, microbes in the soil will feast for 60 days before participants dig the undies back up and report their findings to organizations, and document them on social media. 

Based on the level of decomposition, the challenge partners will share tips on how to improve soil quality. 

The bottom line is the more the underwear decomposes, the healthier the soils are.

Also leading the “Soil Your Undies” challenge is the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, All Together Now PA, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, Stroud Water Research Center, and Lancaster Water Week. 

The planting campaign continues through early June leading up to Lancaster Water Week, held June 5-11.

“The ‘Soil Your Undies’ campaign is a fun way for people to see if their soil has a healthy population of microbes that do amazing work,” said Kelly O’Neill, CBF Agricultural Policy Analyst in Pennsylvania. “In addition to breaking down fabric, some microbes work to recycle dead plant material into nutrients that the plants can use, to reduce crop fertilizer needs. Others form networks among plant roots, to hold soil and nutrients in place. This keeps them where needed and prevents nutrients and soil from polluting local waterways.”

“As we improve our soils, it changes the way that water flows across the land,” said Lisa Blazure, Soil Health Coordinator at Stroud Water Research Center. “Healthy soils soak in more water, allowing plants to thrive, adding to the groundwater, and keeping local streams flowing with clean, cool water.”

“Soil Your Undies” challenges have been taken worldwide, from the United States to Australia. 

CBF and partner organizations organized the campaign to reinforce the collective goal of educating communities on the importance of soil health and emphasizing its connection to ecosystems and clean water.

For more information, visit the  Soil Your Undies Campaign webpage.

Take Action Now!

-- Tell Your Legislator NOW To Set Aside $500 Million From Federal American Rescue Funds To Support Local Environmental, State Park & Forest Projects

Related Article:

-- Guest Essay: Pennsylvania's Lawmakers Must Invest More In Outdoor Recreation, Cleaning Up Polluted Waters, Restoring Habitat - By Alexandra Kozak, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership [PaEN]

[Posted: May 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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