National News
August 12, 2008
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Link to "Dig It!" Exhibit Website

Contact: Jill Moran, 202-452-5198

BLM Soil Scientists Contribute to National Exhibition at Smithsonian Museum

The significance of soil and the history of its management are highlighted in a new national exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, the Bureau of Land Management announced today. The BLM is a collaborator with the Smithsonian and numerous other organizations in the support, promotion, and design of the new exhibition, called “Dig It! The Secrets of Soil.” The 5,000-square-foot exhibition recently opened to the public and will be featured at the natural history museum, located on 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., for 18 months. After this period, the exhibition is expected to travel to 10 museums across the country, through the year 2013, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. 

“Dig It!” features a monolith, or soil profile showing the layers formed in the soil, of the state soil for each of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. , Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. The state soils were designated based on their special significance to the economy of the particular states. The monoliths for Scobey (the Montana state soil) and Orovada (the Nevada state soil) were collected on BLM land. Many of the other state soils in the West occur extensively on BLM lands as well. “Dig It” also includes models, interactive displays, and videos demonstrating water, nutrient, and gas movement in soils, soil formation, and the importance of soils in people’s daily lives. The exhibition illustrates how healthy soils are linked to human health, economic strength, environmental health, and food security, and how human activities affect soils. BLM employees Bill Ypsilantis, Jim Renthal, Rob Roudabush, and Jack Hamby were instrumental in providing resources for those portions of the exhibit featuring soil management on public lands.

The BLM recognizes the vital role of soils in the health and sustainability of America’s public lands.  The BLM’s commitment to effective stewardship of the nation’s soil resources is demonstrated in its work to reduce accelerated erosion, maintain healthy native plant and animal communities, and to complete a comprehensive soil survey on public land. The BLM is joining with other Federal partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, to classify and interpret the baseline soil information that is a measure of the potential for all land uses.

The BLM manages more land – 258 million acres – than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

– BLM –

Last updated: 10-20-2009