The Importance of Soil Health: Class Online Tonight, Tuesday March 8

In the winter of 2021, the Owl enrolled in the Penn State Arborist Short Course–one of the only silver linings during Covid’s worst days was the availability of online coursework. Penn State does not normally offer the course remotely, and the Owl, having no plans or desire to move to Pennsylvania, took advantage of this opportune moment to take what turned out to be an intense and difficult course. I learned a lot, especially that certified arborists are smart folks, and are required to train and learn annually. Never again will I complain about the costs of trimming the oak trees.

The other biggest learning I had was the importance of soil science. If you don’t take care of the soil, you might as well just forget having happy plants, trees, and environment. One of the numbers that will stay with me is that a forest’s mean infiltration rate is about 12 inches per hour while turf is only 4 inches per hour. Infiltration, if you didn’t know, is how fast water is absorbed into the soil. Highly compacted turf and low infiltration rates may lead to more stormwater runoff and ponding. Does anyone see why I am crazy about trees? Yes. Wait, I got diverted, like so much stormwater…

What’s my point? Tonight Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, Mothers Out Front Lincoln and Codman Community Farms are offering an online seminar on Healthy Soils, part of an ongoing series. As we all know, Lincoln “gets it” in general on climate-y things. Here’s from the marketing materials:

Did you know that soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and the biosphere combined? Join us for the first class of our Healthy Soils Series! This intro to soils will give an overview of what soil is and how it functions as a carbon sink that can help reverse climate change. Lincoln’s Rachel Neurath will be our guide, sharing her expertise and enthusiasm for this under-appreciated ecosystem and life-supporting material.

Rachel Neurath’s expertise is in soil microbial ecology. With a life-long passion for the environment, Rachel has a strong interest in carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change. After receiving her PhD from UC Berkeley, Rachel pursued research on carbon persistence in soil and how microbes mediate carbon flow and play a critical role in long-term carbon sequestration. Rachel is also a teacher and a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM education.

You can read more here, as well as register.

This series is organized by Codman Community Farms, Mothers Out Front Lincoln, and LLCT. While the seminar is free, please consider donating when you sign up to help us purchase supplies, soil testing kits, etc. If you are unable to contribute at this time, please still join us — learning about soils can support healthy soils, too!

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