See what everyone did for IYS!

This is how others celebrated the International Year of Soils - through activities and events that happened in 2015. And, this is a great place to "borrow" ideas for your celebrations! The activities and events are categorized by state or general location.


Name: Larry Baldwin
Activity/Event: IYS and Your Email Signature

Description: I would recommend we all include the “I Heart Soil” logo and IYS web link ( within many of our daily correspondences/in our email signatures as an exponential way to get the message out.

Logo is available here:
(right click on your preferred language and "save image as")



Name: Barbara-Ann Lewis
Activity/Event: Sundays with Science

Description: At the beginning of each of my public lectures on environmental issues (Sundays with Science) at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, I describe an interesting fact about soil, or show a 1-2 min video about soil.  On Sunday July 12, the talk is on "Fracking" and the soil video is on "Bioturbation".  (I found the link to this video on the website).  The first talk was on Jan 25 on the Drought in California, another follows on Sept 13 on Hormones in Drinking water, and on November 8, on GMOs.  Each of these talks start with the IYS soils logo, and something about soil.


Name: Nick Comerford
Activity/Event:  CEU Teacher Workshops

Description: Florida’s IYS team has at least 10 Research and Education Centers that will be running  one-day, CEU-providing teacher workshops. The team is also working with a Florida teacher to evaluate IYS activities for Florida’s core standards—so Florida teachers know how soils education fits into their lesson plans. The Florida team will share what they complete with SSSA, and we’ll make it available for others.


Name: Frank C Watts
Activity/Event: Earth Day Jacksonville Landing
Date(s) of Activity/Event: April 18, 2015

Description: International Year of Soils Exhibit


Name: Phyllis Robinson
Activity/Event: Microbes Are Us Costume Parade
Date of Activity/Event: November 13, 2015

Description: The Maui chapters of the Hawaii Farmers Union United in cooperation with the Haiku Boys and Girls Club is sponsoring a costume parade event called Microbes Are Us on November 13th on the island of Maui.   Children will be dressed in costumes representing microbes that contribute to soil health. The healthier our soil, the more nutritious the food we can produce that is essential for the health of our children.Microbes Are Us is a teachable moment not only for the kids, but for the adults we are asking to judge the costume contest. The costume contestants are from the Haiku Boys and Girls Club on Maui.  The costumes will be judged by  Hawaii's Governor Ige, U.S. House of Representative, Tulsi Gabbard, her father Hawaii Senator, Mike Gabbard, Maui Mayor Arakawa, and select County Council members all gathered for the Hawaii Farmers Union State Convention.



Name: Tony Hartshorn
Activity/Event: Scobey for State Soil

Description: A group led by Douglas Fischer, Jerry Nielsen, 4th grade teachers Ms. Sigler and Ms. Nelson, and 4th graders from Longfellow Elementary School have been promoting the Scobey soil series to be legislatively designated the Official Montana State Soil. After escaping from the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 6-5 vote, the Senate passed the bill 26-22. On March 24, 2015, before the House Agriculture Committee (video here:, soil enthusiasts again made the case for a state soil. We will keep the outcome of that hearing a surprise, and are awaiting decisions from the entire House as well as the Governor, but regardless of the outcome, we plan to leverage statewide support for soils this #IYS15.



Name: Rebecca Young
Name of Activity/Event: Sunday with a Scientist - Soils

Description: The University of Nebraska State Museum’s May Sunday with a Scientist program for children and families will celebrate the "International Year of Soils". The program will take place on May 17 from 1:30-4:30pm at Morrill Hall. Soil scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service will help visitors explore the world of soils. Children and families will learn how soils clean and capture water, support buildings, sustain life, plus more through hands-on activities.


New Mexico:

Name: Paulina Aguilera-Eaton 
Activity/Event: We Love Soils Art Contest

Description: In honor of International Year of Soils, Soilutions is encouraging New Mexicans to think about why soils are important in our life.  We have put out a call for drawings (using the Soil Science Society of America's coloring book template) that illustrates "Why I Love Soil".  Submissions will be posted on our Facebook page and our website, and every month one artist will be selected to receive a bag of composting worms.  At the end of the year, the person who submits our favorite piece will receive a yard of compost. It's our way of thanking people for thinking about the soil.  (We'll keep you posted with the artwork we get!)


North Carolina:

Name: North Carolina State University
Activity/Event: IYS Flocking 

Description: North Carolina State students are flocking buildings weekly to celebrate The International Year of Soils! To view a photo of the flocking at Williams Hall, click here. To view the flocking of Flock Woods Charter School, click here!


North Dakota:

Name: Eric C. Brevik
Activity/Event: November Family Science Day

Description: In celebration of November 2015 as the month that SSSA is focusing on soils and climate, Dickinson State University (DSU) will be devoting their Family Science Day to the topic. Local elementary aged students will be treated to a Saturday of soil science activities from the SSSA International Year of Soil activities and the DSU Discovery Dome will be showing the IMAX film “Climate Change: What Future are We Facing”. Attending students will also get to take SSSA “I Heart Soil” stickers and rulers home. DSU Family Science Day events are held every year once a month from August to December (fall semester). They typically draw 100-200 elementary aged students from Dickinson and surrounding communities. The DSU Family Science Days are sponsored by the DSU Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grant and the DSU Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program.



Name: Colleen Meacham
Activity/Event: Simple Soil Test 

Description: We took soil samples from our three gardens, sand box and mud box.  We put the samples in soda bottles and added water.  The children shake them up then watch the soil settle in layers depending on the composition of the sample. For more information, click here!


Rhode Island:

Name: Hollie Galloway 
Activity/Event: Dirt! The Movie screening

Description: Screening of Dirt!  The Movie an award winning film that reveals the importance of dirt.  Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis. Dirt!  The Movie tells the story of humans trying to reconnect to dirt-the living skin of the earth.  Traveling from the vineyards of California to the plains of Kenya, Dirt! reveals how repairing our relationship with dirt can create new possibilities for all life on earth.



Name: David Weindorf 
Activity/Event: Lecture Series and Radio Spots

Description: TTU is hosting a lecture series throughout the year  highlighting soils research, outreach, future directions, and more. In consultation with the soils faculty, they are underwriting four full days of programming to air on their local NPR affiliate, KTTZ 89.1 FM. They recorded a series of radio spots which will air approximately 20 times throughout each of those days. Their objective is to raise public awareness of the importance of soils and all the groups engaged in studying/working on this precious resource. The radio spots highlight not only Texas Tech, but also ARS, NRCS, PSSAT, and SSSA. The first day of underwriting was Thursday, January 15. Here’s one of their scripts!

Underwriting of today’s programs brought to you by the BL Allen Endowment in Pedology at Texas Tech University, celebrating 2015 as the International Year of Soils. Did you know that soil acts to filter and clean water resources across the earth? By the time water reaches our aquifers, soil microorganisms have removed many of the substances harmful to human health. The soils faculty at Texas Tech University are actively engaged in studying soil today to feed the world’s population tomorrow. Get the scoop at


West Virginia:

Name: Mary Beth Adams
Activity/Event: Ag and Forestry Day at the WV legislature

Description:The West Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientists prepared a display, which incorporated information about IYS.  In addition, we handed out about 125 of the I Heart Soil Stickers to people who stopped by the booth, and all of the Soils Sustain Life pencils.  It was an opportunity to talk to legislators, teen age girls (it was also Girls Day at the Legislature), and other visitors to the Capital about soils.


Name: West Virginia Plant and Soil Science Club
Activity/Event: Celebrate the International Year of Soils

Description: The WVU Plant and Soil Science Club has been working on a project to celebrate the International Year of Soils on the WVU campus, with the goals of (i) raising awareness on how soils affect our daily lives and (ii) highlighting the activities of WVU faculty, staff, and students related to soil resources. The centerpiece of this projectis a display case with soil monoliths and descriptive information on soils, all of which is related to one of 12 monthly IYS themes ( This display case was finally deployed yesterday, and it took help from many individuals.

The case is on display through the month of February in Brooks Hall to recognize how 'Soils Support Urban Life'. It will be back on the Evansdale Campus in March in recognition of how 'Soils Support Agriculture'. I do hope that you will have an opportunity to see the display and, when you do, recognize the efforts of the many people who have made it possible. To view a photo of the display, click here!



Name: Ken Van Rees
Activity/Event: Illuviation - soil art exhibition, December 7-11

Description: Illuviation explores how five painters from different walks of life move into a deeper examination of the importance of soil in mark making with soil as a pigment. The process of embedding soil into art creates a transformative avenue for the painters by reaffirming our intimate connection with soil that sustains artistic practice and our life. This exhibition is a thematic body of work that creates thoughtful awareness and celebrates the importance of soil in a healthy society.


Name: Dr.Rajendran Palaniswami 
Activity/Event: Vivekananda Science Exhibition to Rural Masses (VISETORM-VIII)
Date(s) of Activity/Event: 01.07.2015 & 02.07.2015

Description: Vivekananda Science Exhibition to Rural Masses (VISETORM-VIII) is a two days biannual feature of Vivekananda College. The exhibition is dedicated to “International Year of Light - IYL- 2015 & International Year of Soils IYS-2015” celebrations. It will create awareness and significance of light and soil among the school students. During the exhibition 12 departments of our college will display their exhibits to emphasis the importance of light and soil. Around 4,000 rural school children will be expected to witness the event.

Puerto Rico:

Name: David Sotomayor
Activity/Event: Student poster exhibition

Description: The College of Agricultural Sciences of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, USDA-NRCS, and PanAmerican Fertilizer Inc., have joined the 2015 International Year of Soils celebration, with a Student Poster Exposition and Contest and Keynote Speaker Presentation. The activity was held on Wednesday 13 May 2015, in Mayagüez.  Over 48 students participated in the Poster Contest around three main themes: (i) Functions and services that soils provide; (ii) Importance of soils in the lives of Puertorricans; (iii) degraded soils and how they can be recuperated with sustainable management practices.  The posters were judged in terms of artistic quality, educational content, and scientific correctness.  Cash prices of $250, $150, and $100 were given by PanAmerican Fertilizer Inc for the first, second, and third place winners.  Following the poster session, Dr. Thomas Reinsh (USDA-NRCS, Soil Science Division, Washington D.C., National Leader, World Soil Resources) offered a seminar titled: "Perspectiva Global del Uso Sustentable de Suelos en el Caribe".  The talk served to enlighten the public about soils of the Caribbean and ways to avoid their degradation.  UPRM will continue with other educational activities promoting awareness about soils during 2015.


To view other workshops, meetings and conferences click here!