College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Policy

Musicians Max & Spencer Ernst sing "The Soil is Alive!"

Twin alumni Max and Spencer Ernst are ENSP - Soil, Water, and Land Resources graduates (2013) and professional musicians who are spreading the word in song that "The Soil is Alive!" 

Last Spring, Max and Spencer and their band, The Walking Sticks, participated in an educational workshop sponsored by the USDA Student Discovery Garden and Prince George’s County 4-H  to bring agricultural sciences into the classroom. Their role was to turn a standard lecture about soils into a fun sing along for elementary and junior high school students.  Their project was a great success!

Now that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils, Max and Spencer would like to take the next step, animate the song, and turn it into an educational resource that anyone can use.  Interested in helping out?  Contact them at to inquire about their kickstarter funding campaign! 

To learn more about The Walking Sticks and their music, go to their homepage, listen on YouTube, or follow them on Facebook -- you're guaranteed to love them!  P.S., Most of their music is not about soils :+)


The Soil is Alive! (Lyrics)


A rock falls down and crumbles apart.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.

A rainstorm comes and the breakdown starts.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.


A spider comes along and makes its home.

It spins an evil web and waits alone.

A beetle gets caught in a web of flies.

They try to escape but no one survives.

The soil is alive.


Their bodies decompose and attract someone new.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.

A fungus comes along and knows what to do.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.


It turns the dead flies into food for plants.

Yummy Yummy Yummy nutrients.

The plants grow old and they start to rot.

They break down with the bugs and rocks.

The soil is alive.  


It all stirs together in a dirty stew.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.

For thousands of years it continues to brew.

The soil is alive. The soil is alive.  


And to this day it still grows.

There’s one last thing that you should know.

The soil that lives beneath our feet gives life to you and me.


The soil is alive. The soil is alive. The soil is alive!

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