WASHINGTON, October 13, 2016 – She’s spent most of her professional life searching the cosmos, seeking to unlock the mysteries of the stars. Now, in an effort to help address some of planet Earth’s biggest challenges, astronomer Laura Danly, Ph.D. is urging all of us to “unlock the secrets in the soil.”
The curator of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, Calif., and a former NASA astronomer, Danly recently teamed up with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to lend her voice to a new series of TV public service ads that underscore the importance of improving the health of Earth’s living and life-giving soil.
“The more I learn about our amazing universe, the more I realize what a special home we have within that universe – right here on planet Earth,” she said. “One of the things that makes planet Earth such a special place in the universe is its living soil.”
“Unfortunately, soil is one earthly resource that’s often overlooked, underappreciated and too often degraded,” said NRCS soil health campaign coordinator Ron Nichols. “However, healthy soil and the teeming life within it, could very well help us address some of planet Earth’s biggest challenges,” he said.
“Not only does soil feed and clothe us, but we now know that improving the health of our soil may help us mitigate climate change impacts, improve water quality and quantity, and increase food production,” Nichols said.
Through these ads, which are part of NRCS’ “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” campaign, Nichols hopes urban consumers will become more aware of the role soil health plays in their environment, food, lives and futures. “In rural areas, we’ll be connecting with actual farmers, ranchers and landowners who can adopt soil health management systems – which is good for the farm, the environment and the farmer’s bottom line,” he said.
Danly, who is also a frequent guest on the History Channel’s “The Universe,” said the connection between the stars and the soil is closer than one might think.
“Ours is the only planet we know that has life on it, so it’s a natural for me to want to talk about Earth and share some important messages with people about how we can make Earth healthier. We can reach for the stars,” Danly said, “but we must cherish the soil.”
The spots are being distributed to local television stations and networks beginning in October. For more information on how NRCS is working with farmers to “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil,” visit www.nrcs.usda.gov .