Take Promotion and Education Outside
Are you an indoor or outdoor kind of person? Outside is the place for me. As kids, my sister, cousins and I enjoyed playing and exploring outside. Digging up worms after a summer storm, building forts in the woods and sneaking into our granary to climb up the oat pile, even though Gramps told us not to.
Fast forward to my present-day self, I still prefer to be outside. Summertime is my favorite of Wisconsin’s seasons. Spring and Summer are the time for new growth, animals and birds are returning from winter refuge and native plants are starting to bloom. Summer is a great time to be outside and explore and learn.
In Spring 2021, District 8 held a month-long outdoor activity with a catchy little name, Soil Your Undies. This activity encouraged members to sign up for a soil experiment for the chance to win a prize. After registering to participate, members received a kit with instructions, cotton briefs, a wire flag marker and a Farm Bureau sign.
Then members went to a general field, garden or back 40 location, recorded the date on the flag, documented themselves with ‘Clean New Undies’ in a photo and, per instructions, buried the undies in the soil.
After one month, the buried undies were dug up and again photographed with the dated flag.
When participants had completed the month of ‘Soiling Their Undies,’ we tabulated the scores. UW Extension agents helped judge and grade the before and after photos.
The outcome of this experiment was to show how the soil microbial activity breaks down the cotton fabric. We learned soil type, e.g., sandy, clay, etc. was a big factor and water source, till or no-till made a difference.
This soil experiment activity was fantastic. Outside, self-guided, easy to perform, simple to conduct and monitor and has visual results. Plus, a fun name to brag about if you were the winner.
Along with the soil kit, information on pollinators and flower seeds was included.
Lovingly using the phrase, “Now that you’ve soiled your undies, might as well wet your ‘plants’.” After digging the underwear hole, participants could plant the seeds.
This activity is in its second year, but we’ve added another campaign to focus on our pollinator friends: No Mow May.
No Mow May was spearheaded as an activity for those who live in the city limits where hole digging may not be permitted. No Mow May simply means refraining from cutting your lawn during the month of May.
Dandelions are some of the first blooms of the spring, and depending on the weather and temperatures, those little yellow flowers are the only food source for honey bees.
No Mow May also has activities and experiments for participants. A game of “What’s Growing” Back Yard Bingo can be played – is it Creeping Jenny, Orange paint brushes, clover, wild strawberries?
The outdoors is a wonderful place to explore and learn about big and small, in a field close to the woods or right outside your back door, just not in the oats.
I encourage you to take advantage of the educational opportunities that the outdoors has to offer and try a No
Mow May, Soil Your Undies or other fun activities in your county or district.
Katie Zoromski is the District 8 representative on the WFBF Promotion and Education Committee. Katie developed a love for agriculture after spending time on her uncle’s dairy farm while growing up in central Wisconsin. Today, Katie is involved with her family’s hobby farm which has grown into an agritourism venture while supplying a variety of agricultural products.
The Promotion and Education Committee is a dynamic group of Farm Bureau leaders who develop, implement and promote programs that build agricultural awareness and provide leadership development to the agricultural community.