The soil beneath our feet is a whole new world, only partially discovered. It is really like another universe except it is finite. It is a living entity filled with micro-organisms that help plants grow and decompose all of our dead, whether animals, plants or other organisms. I am putting two free educational links on this page so we can learn more about our wonderful dirt! From 2008 until 2010 the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History presented an exhibit called: Dig It! The Secrets of Soil:
“Soils Make Life”
Plants grow in and from soils, and plants—directly or indirectly—feed almost all life on Earth.
“Life Makes Soils”
Soil-dwellers such as bacteria and fungi recycle once-living organisms into nutrients and organic matter (humus)—vital components of all soils. Without soils, life would not exist as we know it.”
Fortunately for us, they have created an audio visual tour of this exhibit. This is a fascinating site and I highly recommend looking at it. You do need to have Flash installed to view parts of this exhibit.
For the kids in the family, and for the adults who are kids at heart, there is another great website with a educational game all about soil , what lives there and cleaning up toxic wastes.
There have been experiments where worms have cleaned up toxic wastes. So all the organic things that we add to our garden plots are building up the soil. Adding compost, manure, vermicompost and mulching are all good things we can do to enhance everything that we grow.
Have you ever wondered how dirt came into being or how extremely important it is in our lives? We just walk on it all the time and take it for granted most of the time until you try to grow vegetables or grass. Have you ever wondered what our Earth would look like if there were no such living beings called decomposers such as insects, worms, fungi, bacteria breaking things down into dirt? There are “more decomposers in a spoonful of dirt than there are people on Earth.” This is from a kid’s book called Do It Yourself Composting by Buffy Silverman.
I just finished watching Dirt! The Movie and I stand in awe of dirt–something I never really thought about before. Dirt! The Movie is an excellent documentary about soil and how important and valuable it is. It shows how we are destroying dirt all over the world in different ways.
Jamie Lee Curtis is the narrator and introduces the movie by saying, “of all the planets, in all the galaxies of the known universe only one is covered by a living breathing skin called dirt.” Several experts and visionaries offer their thoughts in the introduction. The movie is adapted from Bill Logan’s essays which are published in “Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth”. He is one of the guests in the movie saying that one reason he wrote a book about dirt was largely because everywhere he went in New York people didn’t seem to believe in dirt or didn’t seem to believe that nature existed at all.
I highly recommend watching this video. You can buy Dirt! The Movie from Amazon, watch it on Hulu for free or maybe your local library has it. Neflix has it on streaming video which is where I watched it. Happy New Year to all!