Youth Soil Health Resources

The Soil Quilt 

“The Soil Quilt” is a new children’s book published by Ag Storytellers and the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition. Written by Amanda Radke and illustrated by Michelle Weber, the book uses the metaphor of a patchwork quilt that layers the planet to explain how a healthy soil covers the landscape. With a glossary of vocabulary words and a hands-on learning activity designed for educators, “The Soil Quilt” is an excellent tool to launch discussions both at home and in the classroom about the importance of agriculture and soil health and their connection to rural life. Weber’s fantastic illustrations breathe life into Radke’s touching story about a New York City boy who visits his grandmother’s farm in South Dakota for a summer and learns how healthy soils support healthy communities.

Soil Health Coloring Page

This coloring page highlights the underground life that makes soil healthy and the role soil plays in our food, our lives, and our landscape.

What Lives in the Soil Poster

This informational poster higlights soil microbiology, the soil textural triangle, and the soil food web which shows the connections between the soil and life above the ground.

Mighty Mini Microbe’s Tale

She’s a wee bit smaller than your typical superhero. But the creators of a new soil health-themed coloring book believe “Mighty Mini Microbe’s Tale” will encourage the next generation of real-life hero farmers, conservationists and scientists to further unlock the secrets in the soil. The 24-page coloring book, produced by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, is part of its on-going “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” soil health awareness and education campaign. It is illustrated by Cat Bailey, an NRCS public affairs specialist in Portland, Oregon.

Ask S.K. Worm

It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it! S.K.Worm, the official annelid, or worm, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service answers students questions about soil. Even their teachers can’t wiggle their way out of this one! Slither your way through these soiled questions and earn a very special diploma. You might even get hooked on soil!

Soil Health Primer

This Soil Health Primer has four separate modules designed to teach the essentials of soil health and Includes ungraded quizzes to check your knowledge. This primer is presented by the Soil Education Network, a project of the South Dakota Discovery Center made possible by support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

The Root Project

Cover crops are an essential part of healthy soil. As part of its ongoing efforts to educate, train and inform, the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative has developed a graphic showing the cross-sectional view of several popular and effective cover crops. This high-quality graphic is extremely detailed and scalable. It’s available for non-commercial use in your applications for presentations, seminars and workshops when cover crops are discussed. 

SD Soil Health Buckets

Interested in an educational tool containing 18 different accredited lesson plans and all the necessary equipment to perform accompanying experiments and activities? Look no further, the SD Soil Health Coalition provides educational “Soil Health Buckets” and lessons to vocational agriculture classrooms, soil science classrooms and additional youth groups.

South Dakota Discovery Center

The South Dakota Discovery Center offers an array of curricular resources that will engage your learners in inquiry-based, hands-on exploration of watersheds and the world at large.

Ground Works/SD Ag in the Classroom

With an integrated program approach, Ground Works/SD Ag in the Classroom uses teaching gardens, summer camps, and digital programs to deliver lessons in STEAM education, agricultural literacy, and student leadership. Ground Works/SD Ag in the Classroom seeks to invite all to the conversation to increase connections classrooms and communities in South Dakota

News & Events

Soil health gardening: Less weeding, more fun

Soil health gardening: Less weeding, more fun

By Stan Wise South Dakota Soil Health Coalition Wouldn’t it be nice to have a large summer garden without all the weeding? By using a few soil health practices, South Dakota gardeners might just be able to pull that off while improving the structure and fertility of...

Planting green: Rethinking cropland management

Planting green: Rethinking cropland management

By Stan Wise South Dakota Soil Health Coalition PIERRE, SD – If you overhear farmers at the local coffee spot talking about “planting green,” they’re probably not discussing the paint on their equipment. They’re more likely referring to a new way of thinking about...