March 16, 2017
News Release

For Budding Naturalists, a Weekly Lesson in Soils


Local students explore the world of soil science with PNNL scientist Taniya RoyChowdhury.

Three scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently gave a crash course on soil to young children at a local elementary school. Peyton Smith, Alex Crump and Taniya RoyChowdhury scurried around the classroom, helping the kids get dirty as they sifted through soil, exploring the world of microbes that are key to our planet's future.

The children, from pre-school through fifth grade, created their own mini-composters and mushroom gardens.

"What you get from the kids is a sense of enthusiasm. It keeps me fresh," said geologist Evan Arntzen, who helped organize this session and several others at the school. "I'm constantly amazed at how sharp their minds are," he said of the students.

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.