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Dig Deeper: Mysteries in the soil


Soil is an amazing substance. A complex mix of minerals, air, and water, soil also teems with countless micro-organisms, and the decaying remains of once-living things. Soil is made of life and soil makes life.
To the farmer, soil is where crops grow.
To the engineer, soil is a foundation upon which to build.
To the ecologist, soil supports communities of living things.
To the archaeologist, soil holds clues to past cultures.
To the city dweller, soil nurtures grass and gardens.

To the soil scientist, soil is all of these things.

Soil has been called "the skin of the earth" because it is the thin outermost layer of the Earth's crust.
Like our own skin, we can't live without soil.
Source: Soil Science Society of America

2014 Poster Contest

The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides students in grades kindergarten through 12 an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state associations, auxiliaries and agencies. Resource materials, promotional PowerPoint and more can be found on the 2014 DIG DEEPER: Mysteries in the soil poster contest page.


Education Materials

The new DIG DEEPER - Mysteries in the soil education materials are available to order. There is a 10% discount on order of $150 or more placed by March 15, 2014. Enter code soil2014 during the checkout process to receive the discount. Visit the NACD Marketplace to place your order.  


Soil and Water Stewardship Week is April 27 to May 4, 2014.  Visit the stewardship page CLICK HERE

   Education Materials Flyer      Planning Sheet










Online Sample packet of NACD Education Materials.  Viewable - files are not printable.

PLEASE NOTE: some files are large and may take longer to download to view.

Level 1 Grade K-1 Student booklet

Level 2 Grade 2-3 Student booklet

Level 3 Grade 4-5 Student booklet

Level 4 Grade 6 & Up Student booklet



Activity Sheet/Placemat - DD

DIG DEEPER Poster featuring artwork by National Geographic Artist Ned M. Seidler

        Poster ID for DIG DEEPER Poster  Click Here  (printable ID)



DIG DEEPER - Mysteries in the soil Educators Guide - DIG DEEPER.  Overview of each booklet, next generation science starndards correlation, activities, vocabulary words, literature connections, resources and more.  Available to download as a PDF file and printed copies are available from the NACD Marketplace.




Answer key for student booklets. worksheets in the Educators Guide and additional worksheets below.

ANSWER KEYS - Booklets - Ed Guide - Additional Worksheets DD

Poster ID for DIG DEEPER Poster  Click Here  



Additional worksheets can be found in the educators guide link above.

Grade K-1 - DD_K-1_Worksheet_Plants_Food_Soil_2  

Grade K-1 - DD_K-1_Worksheet_Plants_Food_Soil

Grade 2-3 - DD_Gr2-3_Worksheet_Soil_Senses

Grade 2-3 - DD_Gr2-3_Worksheet_Soil_Senses_Earthworms

Grade 4-5 - DD_gr4-5_Worksheet_Soil_Webs

Grade 4-5 - DD_gr4-5_Worksheet_TrophicLevels

Grade 6 and up - DD_Gr6_UP_Worksheet_Minerals (2pages)



Painting with Soil - Click Here

Fun Facts about worms and soil Click Here

Poster ID - DIG DEEPER Poster Click Here


2014 Stewardship Week Information |Click Here| 



Download and use the 2014 Stewardship theme for promotional and educational purposes.

Flickr Instructions:

  1. Click the image you want to download.
  2. On the right-hand side, beneath the photo, you will see a bar containing the name of the file and several icons. Click the icon that looks like three dots - it's the last icon on the right, after the one that looks like two arrows.
  3. When you click the icon, a menu will pop up. Select "view all sizes."
  4. There are several options for sizes on this page, from small to large.
  5. Click "download the (selected size) size of this photo."
  6. Open with your preferred image program and save to your computer.

DIG DEEPER: Mysteries in the soil (high resolution; low resolution and black and white – also in RPG format on flickr)