Celebrating Excellence in Soil Education: PREPSOIL Awards the Winners of the Best Teaching Practices Competition
22, September, 2023· 2 min read
Life on earth is dependent on healthy soils. So educating our youth on the significance of soil health is key. With this goal in mind, PREPSOIL launched a call in December 2022 for the Best Teaching Practices in Soil Education in Primary & Secondary Schools and the winners of the call have now been selected.
This competition sought to recognize and promote creative methods to engage young minds in understanding and valuing the role that soils play in our ecosystem and thereby increase soil literacy among youth.
The call beckoned educators and institutions across Europe to share their innovative approaches to soil education. The PREPSOIL initiative was designed to amplify these efforts, making them visible to a broader audience and inspiring others to contribute to the cause of healthy soils.
“The goal is that these examples of best practices can inspire teachers all over Europe to put soil and soil health on the curriculum,” says Christina Lundström, the PREPSOIL Soil Literacy and Youth Education Leader in charge of the call.
Broad target group
The submitted teaching practices could cater to students aged from 6 to 20 years, therefore encompassing both primary and secondary education levels. Primary and secondary school teaching professionals, along with various organisations, municipalities, and outreach programs, were invited to submit their success stories. Diversity in submission style was encouraged, allowing for a range of approaches such as practical activities, theoretical lectures, art projects, and combinations of these.
PREPSOIL received 44 submissions in response to the call for best practices.
A committee consisting of a soil researcher, a primary and a secondary school science teacher, as well as a teacher from vocational training, and a pedagogy expert judged the submissions and picked a winner and two runners up among the finalists appointed by the project group.
“The committee consisted of members from five different project countries”, Christina Lundström explains, "the committee considered factors such as innovation, impact, and creativity in their final decision".
The winner and runner-up projects
After the evaluation process, the winners of the PREPSOIL Call for Best Teaching Practices were selected.
The winner is Barbara Berli from the Environmental Agency of Austria and partners with the project “Raising Soil Awareness among Austrian Pupils and Students”.
The project partners made material for and facilitated a series of workshops introducing pupils between ages nine and thirteen to “the beauty of soil”.
At least 15 workshops are held in Vienna each year and these are extremely popular both with teachers and students.
Runners up were Stefania Minelli from Liceo Scientifico e Artistico G Marconi in Italy with the project “Carbon Cycle, Soil and Biodiversity within Italian students” and Carolina Lindeblad from Naturskolan in Lund, Sweden with the project “The vital soil”.
All three projects were awarded with Certificates of Achievement as recognition of their dedication to soil health education and their inspiration for younger generations on how to take good care of our land, signed by the PREPSOIL Project Coordinator, Niels Halberg, and the PREPSOIL Soil Literacy & Youth Soil Education Leader, Christina Lundström.
Do you teach soil health and missed the deadline to submit your project? Look out for our second call for best teaching practices to be announced in early 2024! Subscribe to PREPSOIL Newsletter to be notified when this opens.