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The First U.S. Law About Conservation

The First U.S. Law About Conservation

We're very excited to announce that our children's nonfiction picture book, EROSION: How Hugh Bennett Saved America's Soil and Stopped the Dust Bowl has been named a 2021 Notable Social Studies Book by the Children's Book Council and the National Council for Social Studies.

Science + History = Social Studies

This is Book 5 of the Moments in Science series, which chooses moments when science changes significantly in some way. 

EROSION discusses the events of the 1920s-1940s in the U.S. when soil erosion caused the Dust Bowl. Huge dust storms covered the midwest and contributed to the economic depression of the 1930s.

Erosion cover

One man knew what to do, Hugh Bennett. A soil scientist, he had studied America's soil coast to coast. At the time, the soil scientists were creating a detailed map of the United States which showed the type of soil in every county, every town, every farm. With that knowledge, they could suggest the best uses for the land, whether farm land or building a city. 

The Dust Bowl resulted from a combination of drought and poor farming practices. Bennett couldn't change the weather, but he could make sure farmers knew and practiced the best methods of soil conservation.

But Bennett needed help. This story is about the science of soil erosion and soil conservation, but it's also about creating the first U.S. law for conservation. 

Lincoln Memorial Covered in Dust

Here's the photo that inspired this book.

Lincoln Memorial covered with dust storm
On March 20, 1935, Hugh Bennett appeared before a congressional committee to try to convince them to create a law requiring soil conservation. The congressmen and congresswomen weren't convinced. Then, nature stepped in and brought the argument to Washington, D.C. A dust storm hit the capitol city. This image shows the Lincoln Memorial in the midst of the storm.
The story details both science and history. The NEXTGen Science Standards require third graders to study the science of erosion. But this story adds the social studies component of creating the first U.S. conservation law. Backmatter includes dust storm photos, a biography of Hugh Bennett, and a story of how a single drip turned into a huge canyon. 
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