Now in its seventh year, the Emirates Soil Museum has become a leading destination for soil researchers, enthusiasts, and environmentally conscious people seeking to broaden their knowledge of soils and their critical role in ecosystems in the UAE and other countries with similar environments.
In 2022 the museum made a number of significant achievements, attracting through its educational offerings over 1,740 people, including school and university students, researchers, and professionals. It ran various activities, events, and programs for corporates, schools, and other institutions to encourage environmental sustainability and behavior.
One of the highlights of the year was a visit by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This helped to reinforce the museum’s reputation as a crucial repository of information about the UAE’s natural heritage.
Other highlights included a soil exhibition in Dubai jointly with the Save Soil movement led by Sadhguru and a virtual excursion to the museum in collaboration with the Global Soil Museum Network to mark World Soil Day.
Throughout the year, the museum worked with its local partners such as Eedama, Companies for Good, and Goumbook to organize different awareness activities and events around environmental protection and soil conservation.
What is more, in partnership with The Waste Lab, the museum established an on-site composting station at its park to demonstrate sustainable organic waste management. The goal of the composting station was to engage members of the public in composting and educate visitors on different sustainable practices. By November 2022, the program had 96 families participating and learning about the value of composting. The program collected 10,180 kg of food scraps for making compost, which was then used during planting activities at the museum or given to the families.
The museum also hosted and participated in a number of special campaigns and events like “Nature’s Harvest: Growing Sustainably for a Growing World Sustainability @ EXPO” under the Programme for People and Planet at Expo City, Dubai; the Food for Future Summit; “Food for Life” by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE and the Emirates Nature – WWF on Earth Day; and “Food for all” on World Food Day.
To celebrate World Soil Day, the museum also ran a four-week awareness campaign involving 342 professionals from nine organizations. Not only did participants learn about the types of soil found in the UAE and threats to them, but they were also introduced to some of the work done by ICBA to tackle land degradation and planted 359 Ghaf trees. As part of this campaign, the museum, in collaboration with its partner Eedama, also engaged 157 schoolchildren in various learning activities under the slogan “Soils, where food begins”, and hosted a special family day out.
Another campaign managed by the museum continued to raise public awareness about the health and other benefits of cooking and consuming healthy dishes using locally grown halophytic, or salt-loving, crops. Dubbed the Halophytic Kitchen Lab, the program held 10 sessions and trained 494 participants in preparing halophyte-based recipes.
The museum also worked on improving its soil resources and exhibits. For example, the collection of books and references available at the museum library was reviewed and upgraded. And as an extension to the museum library, a soil archive was added to showcase a special collection of soil samples collected during the UAE soil survey in 2006-2009. This archive will be linked through QR codes to Virtual Soil Monolith, an interactive educational tool.
This and other work will enhance the museum’s standing as a unique place of knowledge and education on soils in the UAE and beyond. The museum will continue to increase the number, reach, and impact of its initiatives tailored to inspire action on environmental issues.
Source: International Center for Biosaline Agriculture