Today is World Soil Day, and this year’s theme is “Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future”. The purpose of this theme is to raise awareness about the importance soil has in sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. When soil erodes, the effects may not be felt immediately but future generations will be greatly affected. For example, when the soil erodes and the top layers are removed, nutrients are lost and future generations of plants will not grow well. This in turn affects food availability and ecosystems.
This issue has local significance and impact in the St. Louis Metro East. When topsoil erodes it can eventually end up in the Mississippi River and will ultimately travel down the river to the Gulf of Mexico, where it impacts marine ecosystems.
How can you help stop soil erosion? There are easy ways to prevent soil erosion that you can implement yourself and teach those around you! Firstly, industrial agriculture and large-scale tilling practices is a significant factor leading to soil erosion. By getting your agricultural products from local farms who practice low- to no-till, you help the environment. Secondly, you can keep your own small garden and avoid tilling. There are many resources available online to learn no-till gardening. Thirdly, you can divert rain water to your garden or employ a system to catch rainwater for repurposing. Fourthly, plant flowers, shrubs, or trees on slopes to help stop the erosion here. Finally, using mulch as much as possible and planting over bare spots in your yard will help stop soil erosion.
The STEM Center will also soon have updated curriculum available for students in the 4th and 5th grade to learn about gardening! This can be implemented in the classroom or at home by completing the activities and learning more about gardening. We also have various books available in our Resource Center that discuss gardening and the environment. In our online inventory system, we have different gardening tools available for lending that you can use to start a garden. If you are interested in learning more, there are also various websites that provide experiments for students to learn about gardening.