See those blue markers before you laid out in a four square grid? These markers identify plots of soil that are being used to assess the impact of using compost tea as a soil amendment. Utilizing the campus as a living laboratory, the compost tea study is a collaborative initiative between students and faculty from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale Grounds and Maintenance, and the Office of Sustainability.
The joint pilot project will monitor four different treatment protocols at eight test sites across campus. It will compare the effects of a compost tea amendment, made from Yale’s composted food waste, versus current treatment methods on the ecology of Yale’s soils. The above and below ground response to the four treatments will be assessed by students.
Healthy soils absorb more water, filter urban pollutants, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Measuring both soil and vegetation responses will not only provide information relevant to ecosystem function but also will have useful implications for landscape management on campus.