Wednesday, 8 October 2008: 9:30 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 371E
Whether they realize it or not, soil plays a significant role in the day-to-day activities of every person, no matter their age. Throughout the calendar year, a variety of programs and activities are planned and conducted with the objective of creating and extending the opportunity for active learning experiences for a variety of groups. In all of the activities, the objective is for the participant to learn basic soil science concepts, and gain an appreciation of soil resource utilization and management. Youth programs include 4-H Discovery Days, FFA and 4-H Land Judging, Girls Researching Our World, and K-12 students and teachers. Programming for adults focuses on the objectives of the Certified Crop Advisor programs, as well as producers, extension agents, county health departments, and onsite wastewater treatment system professionals. Each year, a principle is selected in order to unify some of the effort and fieldwork required for these programs, and quite often, the same materials and sites can be used for these diverse groups. For example, a Cornell sprinkle infiltrometer and rainfall simulator were used to demonstrate differences in infiltration and runoff between tillage and residue treatments in an agricultural field, and to teach basic concepts of soil physical properties to 7th and 8th grade girls interested in science and engineering. In the first example, the title of the presentation was “No-Till Soil Management,” and in the latter, “Get Down and Dirty With Soil.” In both of these experiences, the “audience” conducted an investigation during the course of the presentation, or in other words, were active learners. These experiences demonstrate that the same site and equipment may often be effectively used to deliver the same basic message to a diverse extension clientele on soil resource use and management.
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