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May 29th, 2014: Learning Along the River, Week 8

Ken Oster from the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) joined us along the river to teach the students all about soil. Ken provided exciting experiments that reminded students of the many important functions soil provides. Water infiltration was examined by isolating a small area of soil and seeing how long it took for one inch of water to soak through.  Recycling of organic material was discussed and students were tasked with finding as much compostable material as possible in a short amount of time. Kids had a blast with the earth worms Ken brought to describe their impact on soil health. Students then observed the soils ability to filter dirty water. They had fun testing the shear strength of different soil types by seeing how hard one had to squeeze or stomp on a soil clod until it broke. We ended the afternoon discussing the three particle sizes in soil (sand, silt, clay) and practiced testing soil texture by feel using varying samples from the Salinas River Bed.