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Johanns Announces Designation of Representative Soil for District of Columbia

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


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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