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Johanns Announces Designation of Representative Soil for District of Columbia

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Location: Washington, DC


JOHANNS ANNOUNCES DESIGNATION OF REPRESENTATIVE SOIL FOR DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled "Sunnyside" as the representative soil for the District of Columbia during an Earth Day event at the United States National Arboretum.

A soil monolith of "Sunnyside" is scheduled to become part of a planned soils exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, scheduled to open in 2008. Plans for the exhibit include a gallery of monoliths representing the 50 states, the Caribbean Area and the Pacific Islands.

"Designating a representative soil for the District of Columbia on Earth Day reminds our citizens about the importance and benefits of healthy and productive soils," Johanns said. "The soil is a vital resource; it is the foundation of life."

During the National Arboretum event, USDA-NRCS soil scientists carved a "Sunnyside" soil profile from a pit dug in the Arboretum's Maple Collection. The 6-feet deep soil profile shows the soil's natural layers. Its extraction from the pit is the first step in a lengthy process to becoming a monolith, which is mounted and preserved. A soil monolith usually measures 48 by 8 inches. A maple tree will be planted at the site where the soil profile was taken. USDA-NRCS soil scientists also measured soil quality and demonstrated erosion and runoff at several work stations.

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