Erosion Control March/April 2017 : Page 14

History has not recorded his exact words at that moment. • Great Falls of the Missouri, the 30-mile stretch of Montana prickly pear that took the Corps nearly 30 days to portage around in 1805, dragging their dugout canoes behind them on wheels made from the cross-sections of trees • Council Bluff s, IA, where we took a representative sample of the soil in which the only member of the Corps of Discovery—Sergeant Charles Floyd—is buried One of the Flight of Discovery’s greatest treasures is a column of the soil framed in native oak that we received from the State of Missouri soil scientist. When you pull out these soil tubes and explain the time and place of these samples in the annals of Example of erosion problems in an African country the Lewis and Clark Expedition, people— particularly youngsters—really take notice. Dirt comes to life. beans, the foundational crops upon which their civiliza-So it was that on a beautiful fall day in September 2005, tion survived, and on which, in their time, Lewis, Clark, Amy Mossett, executive director of the Northern Plains and the Corps of Discovery survived the rigorous winter of Heritage Foundation, led the Flight of Discovery to a tra-1805. My guess is that if in the next 700 years everything ditional Mandan garden near Newtown, ND. There, some in America goes to hell, the Mandans will still be cultivat-700 hundred years before Lewis and Clark, the Mandans ing and growing crops in this soil. That is stewardship, my had been cultivating the “three sisters”—corn, squash, and friends. We were honored to be allowed to take a sample of this soil for our educational collection. To achieve some of the objectives of long-term soil protection, reinvigoration, and restoration, a small group of IECA members met during the February 2016 conference, EC16 in San Antonio, TX; in Edinburgh, IN, during May 2016; and again in August 2016 at StormCon in Indianapolis. The group—initially named the Sustainable Soil Alliance— has since changed its name to the Living Soil Alliance, or LSA. The LSA was formed to increase education and infor-mation related to sustainability and reinvigoration of the soil resource. Through the knowledge and experience possessed by its diverse membership, the LSA believes that it is in a unique position to coordinate with other like-minded orga-nizations and institutions to educate designers, engineers, landscape contractors, and regulatory agencies on the use of natural, biotic approaches and their delivery systems to prevent degradation, remediate impacts, advance recovery, and promote protection of the soil resource. The vision of the group is to become a global resource for individuals, organizations, and institutions whose members The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resur-rector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life. -Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture 14 EROSION CONTROL WWW.EROSIONCONTROL.COM

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