2021 Soil Your Undies Challenge!

The 2021 Soil Your Undies (SYU) Challenge is off and running.  UNE Discovery Voyager, in collaboration with UNE Soil Scientist Dr Oliver Knox, the UNE SMART Farms and CottonInfo, are hosting the 2021 Citizen Science project once again this year and last month we invited you to SOIL YOUR UNDIES!

We hit our maximum registration limit of 300 within a few days so we know you’re all very excited by the prospect of getting your undies dirty.

For the challenge, participants will shortly receive a pair of 100% white cotton undies to bury in topsoil for eight weeks. After this time, the undies are retrieved, photographed and the level of decomposition recorded. If the undies have decomposed significantly, there is good biological activity. This indicates healthy soil!  Last year we sent out over 200 pairs of undies to schools and homeschool groups across Australia.  Once they were exhumed, the undies ranged from like new to just the elastic band.

This challenge is an opportunity for citizens to become scientists and contribute to our understanding of soil acidity and alkalinity (pH), texture, moisture and the processes whereby the soil breaks down cotton underpants. Everything you need to participate in the challenge will be delivered to you free of charge, including the undies to be used for the challenge, a challenge flag, information packs, and resources to undertake educational activities at three checkpoints over the course of the challenge.

Our very own, Dr Kieran Meaney, from UNE Discovery Voyager is coordinating SYU this year, and was interviewed on ABC radio recently.  Open the link and click through to about 20minutes and you’ll be able to hear the interview:


For more information, head to https://www.unediscoveryvoyager.org.au/soilyourundies/