Soilsafe Aotearoa set up to help understand what is in the ground

Soilsafe Aotearoa set up to help understand what is in the ground

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A new soil research programme launched by the University of Auckland, partnered with GNS Science, will uncover major research studies.

The University’s Dr Melanie Kah from the School of Environment has been thrilled with many registrations and interest in the programme.

“We’re really excited to have the programme underway, it’s a major undertaking and we hope a wide range of kiwis will be keen to get a better idea of the soil in their own backyards,” said Dr Melanie Kah.


“We expect gardeners to be particularly interested, but the project is open to anyone who has a bit of soil around their home, whether it is a small patch of lawn or a lush vegetable garden.”

Soil testing will be done with no charge to the people looking to find out what is under their ground. It is being encouraged for people to sign up and send them samples.

People willing to have their soil tested will be asked to fill in a short survey, later getting in return a detailed report on heavy metals such as lead.

Source: CC/ Shutterstock

The new launch is aiming to improve the understanding of earth and nature specifically for New Zealand. A wider education programme on soil health and community attitudes could bring new discoveries.

“There is also a wider aim of the programme to find out much more about what people are growing in their gardens and why gardening is important to them, and we’re encouraging marae, community gardens, and schools to get involved,” said Dr Melanie Kah.

“We believe that there have been changes in our communities’ gardening habits over this past year due to Covid-19 lockdowns, so we’d love to hear what these changes might be.”

“Our students’ research is at the intersection of environmental and human sciences – we can’t study the soil without studying the people that interact with it. And there is plenty to explore, so lots of opportunities for students.”


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