What is the Outreach Committee?

Jul 2, 2024 | Blog, Featured Blog, News

The Outreach Committee is one of six BSSS committees who meet regularly to exchange knowledge and ideas and offer vital support to the Society to deliver its aims. The committee comprises of individuals from all categories of Society membership who are passionate about soil science and raising awareness amongst allied disciplines, such as farmers, agronomists, land managers or the wider industry, and amongst the general public.

The function of the Outreach Committee is to:

  • Support members of BSSS by providing educational materials that can be used to deliver educational or public awareness events
  • Support inclusion and learning of soil science in the UK teaching curricula, up to level 3, through provision of teaching materials and educator support to primary and secondary institutions
  • Provide information and resources and support training for non-academic stakeholder groups such as farmers, agronomists, land managers or industry
  • Work with stakeholders and partners to inspire future generations of soil scientists
  • Promote public engagement with soil science
  • Provide relevant education information to Board and Council, which may support the delivery of the society’s strategic priorities.
Recent Achievements

In 2022, we hosted the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS22) in Glasgow on behalf of the International Union of Soil Science. As part of this international conference, we delivered a week-long residency at the Glasgow Science Centre where volunteers engaged with over 7,000 people, highlighting the importance of soil via our Soil Explorer activities, created and developed by the Outreach Committee. This was by far the largest outreach event the Society has hosted during its 75 years and the feedback from the public was incredibly encouraging.

In collaboration with The Association for Science Education, the Outreach Committee were instrumental in commissioning two children’s story books with soil science as the underlying theme. Written by Rebecca Dixon-Watmough, the Plant A Story series includes I Want to Grow Plants and Meeting Friends and offers a fun and engaging way of bringing soil science to life for the younger generation.

As part of the legacy from WCSS22 and the Outreach Committee’s initiatives, we launched the Soil Science Loan Box project. Inspired by the activities from the Glasgow Science Centre residency, our helpful toolkit of resources, boxed up and delivered to the door, helps share the importance of soil with peers, colleagues, community, or the next generation. The boxes include a number of resources to help the user carry out educational soil-related activities suitable for both children and adults. Since their launch in April 2023, ten boxes have been loaned out reaching over 500 people!

All of these activities have culminated in the development, curation and enhancement of our educational materials, with a fantastic suite of resources now on offer to both members and non-members.

Outreach Events

Open Farm Sunday is one of the farming industry’s biggest success stories and provides a fantastic opportunity for visitors to learn more about farming, the countryside and soil. This year, we were delighted to be supporting LEAF by pairing BSSS members with farmers who wanted soil to be a prominent feature at their farm’s open day. You can read more about it here.

This year, we exhibited once again at Groundswell, a regenerative agricultural festival which takes place on a farm in Hertfordshire. Groundswell provides a forum for farmers and anyone interested in food production or the environment to learn about the theory and practical applications of Conservation Agriculture or regenerative systems, with a view to improving soil health. Reaching over 6,500 delegates, it provides fantastic engagement opportunities with farmers, policy makers, allied organisations and soil health enthusiasts!

We also exhibited at the Lincolnshire Show for the first time. We were based in the Education marquee which this year was themed around ‘Super Soils’. Members of the Outreach Committee went to the event and showcased one of our loan boxes, and also spoke to visitors about soil and the Society.

So what next?

The Outreach Committee needs you! We have some exciting plans on the horizon and are seeking members to join the committee to help continue the essential work it does in raising awareness and engaging the public in soil science.

If you would like to join the committee, please apply by ending your CV and a cover letter to admin@soils.org.uk.

Read more

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