4-H members dig into soil

The Dig Into Soil curriculum covers a variety of soil-related topics, ranging from the benefits of composting and the value of earthworms in maintaining soil health to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration and sustainable development goals established by the United Nations. | Brian Cross photo

Global temperatures are projected to rise by as much as 3.2 C by 2100. Investments in fossil fuels continue to be higher than investments in climate activities. And COVID-19 may result in a six percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions for 2020.

These are a few of the messages contained in 4-H Canada’s new Dig Into Soil activity booklet, available online at 4-h-canada.ca/dig-into-soil.

The activity booklet is part of 4-H’s Dig Into Soil program, which aims to teach Canadian kids about how healthy soils address climate change.

The program is also designed to empower Canadian kids to champion soil conservation activities in their own homes and communities, says 4-H.

It was developed in partnership with Syngenta Canada and received funding from the federal government.

“The Dig Into Soil program is an initiative under our sustainable agriculture and food security pillar,” said Liz Jarvis, chief marketing officer with 4-H Canada.

“It give kids an opportunity to learn about healthy soils and how they contribute to issues like sustainable agriculture, food security and climate change.”

Jarvis said the Dig Into Soil program is available to 4-H members and non-members. It includes activity kits and booklets.

Interest in the program has been strong.

Jarvis said all of the available activity kits have been spoken for.

However, she encouraged club members and families to download the activity booklet from the 4-H website.

COVID-19 means that more Canadian children are learning from home, Jarvis said.

More than ever, Canadian families are looking for online learning materials, she added.

“We know that families and youth are at home and they’re looking for ways to find activities and continue hands-on activities…,” she explained.

“And we know that our 4-H clubs are looking for innovative ways to connect as well.”

The Dig Into Soil curriculum covers a variety of soil-related topics, ranging from the benefits of composting and the value of earthworms in maintaining soil health, to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration and sustainable development goals established by the United Nations.

“It (the curriculum) looks at the different aspects of soil health and what feeds into it,” Jarvis said.

“We also have other activities like how to speak up about soil health, how to become a community champion and, you know, really building some leadership in our youth, in our communities and even in our homes to take action on soil health.”

Jarvis said the program material is suited to rural and urban audiences, although most of the demand for learning kits has come from rural areas.

“Of course, we have such a strong heritage and presence in rural communities so we know that is primarily where we’re having orders (for the activity kits) but these subjects are relevant to all youth and all families,” she said.

“And it’s a good opportunity for anyone beyond the 4-H… to learn about healthy soils, to learn about their roles in our food (and) in things like climate change.”

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