From Tiny Acorns
By the mid-1970s, Sammy’s continuing evolution required a helping hand or two. They arrived courtesy of Jack Winstead and Jeannine May, NRCS employees based in Mississippi. Applying the latest graphic design techniques, Winstead and May transformed the original two-dimensional Sammy into a modern, multi-dimensional mascot. The result can be seen in these images, taken at Sunny Ridge Farm in Laytonsville, Md., in early 2017.
“I can’t tell you how well received he is,” explained May, a former public affairs specialist at NCRS. “He’s been so popular that we were asked to create two more to meet the demand.” Even that wasn’t enough, as states from Utah east to South Carolina commissioned Sammy Soil costumes and puppets for use in the classroom, on-site at farms, and other locations where soil conservation needed promotion.
You’re The Puppet
“The best part about being Sammy Soil is being able to make people happy,” explains Kari Cohen, a senior adviser to the NCRS’s Deputy Chief for Science & Technology. “Kids love him and it’s great to be able to interest people in soil conservation, and have fun while doing it!” Cohen speaks from personal experience: he occasionally wears an official Sammy Soil costume at NRCS headquarters, storing the dis-embodied Sammy suit in his office closet afterwards. Staff meetings there must be a blast!
The Mudder Load
What does the future hold for Sammy Soil? Plenty – climate change is expected to make soil conservation a top priority for farmers, landscapers and other agricultural industries. Education – early and often – of the whats, wheres and whys of soil conservation is Sammy’s bread & butter, and this unique homegrown mascot is sure to build on its long history as an educational resource. Can you dig it?
Ever wonder what happens when prime farming land is improperly managed? Check out Wisconsin Farmland Ruined By Frac Sand Mining!