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Learning resources for schools and communities

Welcome! Our new learning resources include step-by-step instructions for facilitators to lead groups of participants through activities to engage farmers, students, policy makers and others in seeing new possibilities related to soil health, water and carbon cycles, and systems-based land management. Our activities are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, and Agricultural Education Standards for ease of use in U.S. schools, but can be used and adapted by anyone interested. You don't need special training to use these, though we do offer professional development workshops for teachers, and Land Listeners Workshops for those who would like to go deeper. Please contact Didi Pershouse at for more information, with comments/questions on the materials, or to schedule a workshop.

The investigations and accompanying worksheets in the "Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function" manual are designed to show how soil biology creates the infrastructure that our civilization depends upon for abundant clean water, food security, healthy people, thriving local economies, resilience in the face of extreme weather events, and more. The manual and the "Field Methods for Monitoring Soil Health and Watershed Function" are both designed to be used along with our new data collection and mapping app

Participating in these exercises helps people:

  • frame new and better questions about what is happening with water, climate, and health issues around the world
  • see why monitoring changes in local landscape function is both interesting and important, and
  • come up with relevant and practical ideas for local land restoration, watershed-cleanup and monitoring projects.

Available pdfs:

Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function (Takes you to a short form with download link at end; reviewers edition, September 29, 2017).

Field methods for monitoring soil health and watershed function (current version May 2017)

Additional activities not included in the above two PDFs: Investigation: Creating a map of carbon flows (that includes soil ecology)

BAREFOOT GUIDES: downloadable pdfs on social change.

Additional learning resources, articles and links

These resources have been created with support from the Sustainable Future Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, the Wellborn Ecology Fund, the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, New Hampshire Entrepreneur's Foundation, the Dixon Water Foundation, the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, the USDA-NRCS, Redlands Community College, and many individuals. Thank you for your ongoing support!