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The soil health project involves North and East Otago’s Enviroschools, whose teachers were shown how to do the deed themselves at Maheno School last week.
It involves burying cotton undies for two months, then digging them up to see how they have been affected by soil micro-organisms, worms, and dung beetles.
The greater the deterioration, the healthier the soil.
Enviroschools Otago regional co-ordinator Robyn Zink led the training day that was organised by North Otago Sustainable Land Management (Noslam) and supported by AgResearch, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, University of Otago, Otago Museum, and East Otago Catchment.
Dr Zink said it was "really exciting" to have those experts on hand and to get young people interested in soil.
The teachers learned how soil was formed, why it was important, how to test it, and how to improve its health.
The project would include an earthworm survey and a study of dung beetles as well as the undies experiment.
Earthworms and dung beetles were "soil engineers" that recycled nutrients, incorporated carbon, and helped to reduce leaching and sediment runoff.