United Nations General Assembly in New York declared the year 2015 as the ‘International Year of Soils’ with the main objective to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. Being the oldest in the University System, Department of Soil Science of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, celebrated the international year of soils by conducting number of activities to improve the public awareness on the ‘sustainable use of soil resource’. The Academic staff members of the Department of Soil Science published a book on ‘Soil: Properties, Plant nutrition and Sustainable Management’ which will serve as a supplementary reading material for students who follow the Advanced Level in Agriculture subject stream in Sinhala language. This book was published with the financial support from the Ministry of the Environment and Renewable Energy. Moreover, the staff members of the Department of Soil Science released a DVD rom on “Laboratory Techniques on Soil Analysis”. This DVD includes demonstrations of the practical exercises pertaining to the Advanced Level Agriculture module and it will be a valuable resource for teachers and as well as students those do not have the access to the laboratory equipment to conduct practical lessons.
On 28th October 2015, the Department of Soil Science organized a half day program for the school children and the teachers of the Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. At this program the book and the DVD rom were distributed among participant. Moreover, students received a set of soil samples representing major great soil groups in Sri Lanka. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya graced this event as the chief guest and an invited lecture on ‘Soils and their Importance’ was delivered by Dr. R. B. Mapa, Emeritus Professor of University of Peradeniya. In parallel, a mini exhibition was also conducted to make the students aware of the nature and importance of soils. The University of Peradeniya funded the event.