Science of Soil (SOS) Project
SOS is a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project that provides middle school age students with the opportunity to collect and analysis data about the health of soil in their community. Students and their teachers are invited to Rutgers University to share their findings with soil scientists.
Why Soil Science?
Soil is the foundation for life. It acts as a filter to protect the quality of water and air, stores and cycles nutrients and water, supports growth of plants and animals, and provides physical support and stability.
New Jersey is known as the Garden State with over 730,000 acres of land farmed. However, NJ is also known as the most densely populated state in the nation, which creates challenges to our balance between people, nature, and land use.
Meanwhile, New York has the fourth largest population in the United States with 19,378,102 people. This large population is not evenly distributed, however, which impacts the land use and soil quality throughout the state.
Middle School Students as Citizen Scientists
Students will collect data about their communities soil health using a GIS collector app developed by a Rutgers university student. The data the students will collect will be useful for soil conservation efforts in NJ & NY.
SOS is a Partnership
This program is a partnership between the NJ Association of Conservation Districts, the NJ Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Districts, USDA/ Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rutgers University scientists from the Soil Resource Department. The project is supported by a generous grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.