Education & Engagement

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To provide a platform for education and engagement, offering programs and stitching together efforts among different disciplines and communities.

Education & engagement is at the heart of everything we do. We aim to fulfill the needs and demands of the people who live and work in the city by providing services and support to professionals, higher education, lay people, students, and educators. The goal is the long-term benefit of retention of education within the community. This holistic approach, unlimited audience, and the wide range of education and outreach services is how USI bridges the knowledge gap that exists between urban soils and the communities that live and work with and within their setting.

We are an entity that is always growing in response to the needs of the people. If you have special requests or have ideas for partnerships please contact us. Below are the programs we offer now. We also have some in the works and will post those as they become available.

Workshops and Educational Programs

Scheduled soil workshops will be offered at Governor’s Island. Check the calendar for updates.

On-site workshops are offered per request on a sliding scale. Please contact us for details and to request a workshop. All workshops are interactive and hands-on.

Understanding Urban Soils: This workshop covers the fundamentals of soil science and the functions of our soils in the city.  

Interpreting Soils: This workshop explores the parameters and mechanisms in soils, leading to the understanding of test results. Special focus is given to soil contamination and remediation, as well as soil data and ethics.

Soil Survey: We offer NYC Soil Survey workshops to provide instruction and broadcast the existence and usefulness of this resource to a wide audience, including professionals, resource managers, educators of all levels, community gardeners, urban farmers, and anyone with an interest in soils of New York City.

3MUGIS International Summer Field School

RUDN University in partnership with USI, has organized and hosted the 3MUGIS summer school program annually since 2016.


The 3MUGIS summer school is an annual event, which addresses relevant contemporary environmental consequences and opportunities of urbanization with special emphasis on soil functions. The event is organized under the umbrella of the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS), RUDN University (Russia) and the Urban Soil Institute (USA) with strong cooperation from universities, institutions and research teams from around the world.

Date: July 21 – August 11th, 2019

For more details, head to the 3MUGIS event page below:

Take Me There!

Meet USI’s Art Extension Service© and Project:Soils© Initiative!

Art and Soils go together! Art provides another language for exploring science and translating it to a wider audience. Communication and dissemination become part of the scientific process. Working together, science and art provoke a more balanced and holistic approach to problems and solutions. Learn more about AES and Project:Soils and get involved here.

We are excited to announce that USI has partnered with Mary Mattingly and her initiative SWALE at Nolan Park in Governor’s Island. This summer, we are offering exciting programs, workshops, urban soil courses, soil testing, and opening the beginning phases of our Soil:Art© museum Soil𑁦ed©. Visit our calendar for open days and events.

Soil:Art© Museum – Soil𑁦ed©

This interactive installation of soil, soil art, soil philosophy, ethics, culture, and symbolism will be hosted at Governor’s Island. It will be a physical, and visual exploration into the depths of soils and their complexities; social, scientific, and artistic. Interactive installations will happen in phases as the museum grows. Stay tuned!

Urban Soils Symposia

The USI organizes an urban soils symposium annually.  Speakers are local and international and are from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. This symposium is designed as a platform for communicating and sharing information, and soliciting resource and research needs from all communities. The audience and speakers are equally important, therefore, the format provides interaction and discussion between presentations. Round-table workshops, poster session, soil art exhibits, and networking social events are all part of the symposium.

This year, we are continuing the discussion by offering a Post Symposium Lecture & Workshop Seriesfollowed by a resource guide and published lecture series.  Please check Symposium and Calendar for dates, updates, and information.

Symposium Portal

In the works for Fall 2019

Urban Soils Courses

Through partnerships, we will offer certificate and continuing education programs in soil science, art, culture and ethics.

We will strengthen the urban soils components of educational degrees. These opportunities will allow students and others to gain the field and lab training necessary to become field-savvy soil technicians and pedologists.