Develop Conservation Ethic- Youth Discover Importance of Conservation

Conservation and Water Protection Ed Through Experiments

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‚ÄčThe Pizz-A-Thon is a hands on program with emphasis on engaging kids in exploring, discovering and creating, tracing newly created pizzas back to the soil. The experiment using the Plexiglas plant/root observation box helps kids understand the importance of soil and water conservation (sustainable agriculture) as they realize the nutrient value and texture of topsoil that is allowed to erode unless conservation practices are used. It is a great program for soil and water conservation districts and for Natural Resource Conservation Service volunteers (Earth Team) to facilitate activities. 

Water Management is the key to protecting our soil and water resources. Using the "harness the rain drop" demonstration helps kids understand the value of management practices to reduce soil erosion, water pollution and flooding.

Sustainable agriculture is critical in the United States to protect our food producing resources and in addressing the world hunger problem in teaching  the techniques "learn to feed themselves" with practices to sustain soil health (farming with no-till, strip till, mulching, and use of cover crops).

 Soil health: It is important to leave old plant residue from crops from the year before on the surface of crop fields to prevent water and wind erosion (called conservation tillage, no till or residue management).

Cover Crops: Cover crops planted on crop fields in the fall help protect our water from becoming polluted with sediment and nitrates, before new crops start to grow in the spring of the year.

Earthworms and living soil organisms break down last year’s crop residue, providing for air and water movement through the soil and providing organic matter for a good environment for the seeds to germinate and crops to grow. This develops good topsoil. This lowers the need for chemicals which can pollute aquifers and streams.

The Universe below our feet is home to millions of living organisms (a recycling factory for so much of the energy that sustains life). An ideal soil structure is 25% air, 25% water (50% pore space), 45% mineral and 5% organic matter. The layer of soil on the top (top soil) contains the best structure and mineral content for growing crops. 

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Insert picture here20 teams (100 kids) from Boys & Girls Club of Story County participated in 8 weeks of Pizz-A-Thon activities, including this experimented with the sand/topsoil growth chambers to discover the value of soil and water conservation!
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