Dear all, our next training for the citizen science soil health surveys will be is in St. Louis. This training is for adults and teens interested in learning about soil science and how to conduct soil health surveys. Below is detail information on the training and a summary that explains the project:

When: Friday, February 5th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Where: Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (click this link for directions). Please register at the reception and go downstairs to Room 60/61 by the women restroom.
What to bring: paper, pen, positive energy, and a camera (optional). We will be outside for a short period of time to show you the setup of a survey site, so be prepared for the cold weather.
What you will get: Training on how to set up and conduct soil health surveys, and a soil kit and manual if you decide to join the soil surveys project.
Cost: Free

MO DIRT - Missourians Doing Impact Research Together, is a project that promotes STEM learning through new science education and outreach opportunities in Missouri. The goals of MO DIRT are two-fold: (1) to further educate citizens on the societal importance of healthy soils and (2) to recruit as many individuals as possible to examine the current properties of our state soils and how these are being influenced by land use and management, as well as microclimate and climate change (see attached brochure). This project is funded by the National Science Foundation under the federal EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) initiative. Called “The Missouri Transect”, this working group of scientists, educators and community advocates will be generating data and models to better understand how climate influences agricultural and native plant systems, and how Missouri communities are affected and respond to this phenomenon over the course of five years. The leading institution for The Missouri Transect is the University of Missouri-Columbia, which is collaborating with eight other academic institutions including the Donald Danforth Plant Center, the Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis University, Lincoln University, Washington University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City and St. Louis.

MO DIRT soil surveys are conducted by teenagers and adults, working as individuals or in small teams, in study sites of their choosing representative of natural systems (prairie, forest, woodland) or agricultural system (grassland, crop fields, animal fields). Urban or suburban gardens are not included. The sites are monitored monthly from February to November over the course of several years. The data generated from the soil surveys will provide baseline information to be shared through an open access on-line website. This electronic tool will allow participants to learn about data being deposited by others across the state, and how the data will be validated for use by scientists, as well as teachers for classroom learning, all for the endpoint of better tracking of how soil health is being affected across the state for long term prospects.

We are planning the next training sessions to conduct soil health surveys. During the training, volunteer citizens (teachers, high school students, land owners, youth groups, etc.) will learn about soil science and how to monitor soil health by measuring soil physical, chemical, and biological indicators. Participants will also learn about data collection and data management. If you are a teacher, take into consideration that your high school students can attend the training to, even if you cannot attend.

Let me know if you are coming and if you are bringing students or other guest. Please share this information with others. Thank you.

We hope to hear from you if you are interested in the soil surveys even if you cannot attend this training. We will continue offering training through the year.

Have a great day!


Sandra Arango-Caro, Ph.D.
Education Programs Facilitator
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
975 N. Warson Rd., St. Louis, MO 63132
Ph. 314.587.1412 | Fax. 314.587.1512