September IYS Newsletter

International Year of Soils Header
September is Soils Protect the Natural Environment month!
Soils Protect the Natural Environment

Welcome to September!  Here are some Quick Facts on the September Theme:

  • Healthy Forests: The forests we like to hike in are beautiful because of their trees. But, it’s the soil that keeps those trees healthy. Soil provides the nutrients for the trees to grow, and the support to hold the trees up…even a giant redwood! If a forest is destroyed in a fire, the soil will bring back life.

  • Great Plains: Prairie soils are rich, soft and deep. They form under grasslands where the climate has warm summers and cold winters. When the grassland plants die back in winter, their leaves and roots remain. This is good, because the debris acts like mulch on a garden. It adds organic matter, which keeps the soil fertile, and helps the Plains States grow much of the United States’ grain crops.

  • Coastal Wetlands: Wetlands are found everywhere. Wetland soils often form in flat, low-lying areas or in depressions where water from rain or snow collects. Wetlands protect against floods by soaking up water and holding it like a sponge, preventing flooding in rivers and streams.

  • Lakes, Rivers and Streams: Soils in the forest, our wetlands, or the plains affect the water in streams. All soils clean and capture water, affecting both water quality and quantity. Every drop of water we drink traveled through soils at one time or another. The soils helped purify it along the way.

Learn more in the September Soils Protect the Natural Environment overview.

September Monthly Theme Information


Each month includes activities appropriate for use in the classroom (grade level varies) and other events.  View the September page for educator activities and additional information and activities from external websites on how Soils Protect the Natural Environment. Included are activities to teach about Soils Around the World (focusing on soil orders - yes, even soils have a taxonomy), the various general soil types (like forest soils, prairie soils, etc), and biomes.

taxonomy We also have a "12 Orders of Soil Taxonomy" poster available.  If you have not received one and would like one, simply send a request to with your name and mailing address.

Blogs and News!

Soils Blog
The September 1 Soils Matter Blog answers the question: How does soil differ across Earth's biomes (Part 1)?


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Thank you to our September Sponsor!

Watch the September Soils Protect the Natural Environment Video


Which soil is under your feet? Well, that depends on where you are. But no matter where you live, soils protect the natural environment around you. No matter where you live, there is soil under you. And, it is a resource we need to protect, because soils sustain life.

Download our September Soils Protect the Natural Environment video - it's also excellent for use in classrooms and any other event/activity that will benefit from video!  You can also view it directly on YouTube.  Feel free to share widely!