Dirty hands, wet feet, and loving it!

The Focus on Water Quality and Soil Science workshop was a great success, as Feed the World presenters Heather Bryan and Jane Hunt engaged 24 teachers in hands-on, inquiry based activities at Highbanks Metro Park. The activities are part of the Feed the World units on water quality and soil and sustainability.

The day began with a brainstorming session on questions that students might have related to soil and water quality. Next, participants tested soil quality, texture, and nutrient and pH content. Bryan grabbed the teachers’ attention when she held up a pair of once-buried men’s underwear, included in the “Soil your undies” activity. Each teacher received a pair of cotton underwear to bury—students will see that bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, annelids and other organisms present in healthy soil are busy transferring key nutrients by eating and decomposing organic material!

An activity with lawn spreaders and package labels showed how homeowners can contribute to the problem of over-fertilization.

Ohio Corn & Wheat’s Brad Moffitt, Brad Reynolds, and Lucas Crumley welcomed the teachers and shared how much they valued the opportunity to provide support to educators.

After lunch, the focus shifted to water quality. Participants learned about assessing water quality through chemical testing and biotic water sampling of macro invertebrates—first in a demo stream, then in the Olentangy River.

Each teacher took home lessons and supplies to present these learning activities in their classrooms, thanks to the sponsor Ohio Corn & Wheat!