Nutrients for Life
A few years ago, I shared a valuable website with you called Nutrients for Life. In November, I ran into our friends again at the Texas Science Teacher's Convention (CAST) in Dallas. I was excited to learn that they have some new things available on their website. If you'll remember, or this may be your first time hearing of them, the Nutrients for Life Foundation is an educational, non-profit that provides FREE information and resources to educators and the public about the role of nutrients in both the production of nutritious, abundant food and the preservation of healthy green spaces. Plant nutrients, especially nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, are also required to keep our parks, gardens, playgrounds, sports fields and golf courses green and healthy in communities from coast to coast.
In addition to curriculum, you'll also find an informative Video Library. While there are several different video series, one of the videos I found really interesting is the Virtual Field Trip to Blue Bell Park located on the beautiful campus of Texas A&M University. In this The Science Behind Sports Turf Management Virtual Field Trip, Teri Hatch with Discovery Education discusses the science behind sports turf management with Nick McKenna, the Assistant Athletic Field Director at Texas A&M University. Nick explains how the field was made, how they use nutrients to keep it green and healthy, why the hardness of the field is important in protecting the athletes, how a soil profile sampler is used to take samples, how they test the soil to make sure it contains the right nutrients, how the weather affects his job, and Nick even shows how they make the designs on the field. How do you think they make the design happen? Do they mow at different heights? Do they use different types of mowers? Do they use different rates of fertilizers? Or, do they shape it by hand? Watch the video and learn what is used and how it works - you might just be amazed!
Nutrients for Life also has Programs and Opportunities available for teachers including "Caring for Our Watersheds," the "Nutrients for Life Ambassador Program," "Teacher Professional Development Events," "Journey 2050 Guest Speaker Program," plus "Classroom Contests and Awards Programs." For instance, their Journey 2050 Program is an educational program for students in grades 7-12 that challenges participants to answer the question “How will we sustainably feed 9 billion people by the year 2050?” In some states, the Nutrients for Life Foundation team or an agricultural expert is available to serve as a guest speaker to help you bring the Journey 2050 experience into your classroom. Learn more about the Journey 2050 program or play the game.
The things I've listed here are just a small sampling of the wealth of information available to you and your students for FREE at Nutrients for Life! I hope you have as much fun as I have digging - I know both you and your students will benefit greatly and find a new appreciation for our soil.