Missouri Student Working on "Dirty" Science Project

February 13, 2007 - Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST

CLARKTON, MO -- Your mother always said to stay out of the dirt, however a student in Missouri is going against that principle and is using dirt as the basis for his science project.

Even though his science project isn't due for almost a year, 6th grade student Brode Horton is already hard at work.

"We decided what is something else that every country has that we have...dirt," said Horton.

With that premise, Horton began looking to gather dirt from around the world. To get the word out about his project Horton placed an ad on EBay asking for people to send him dirt and the results have been amazing.

"You get on EBay you look up something you wouldn't expect to find and you find it, so I guess it means you can find just about anything on the internet nowadays," said 12-year-old Horton.

So far Horton has received over 30 samples from as far as Sweden, Australia and even holy sand from Jerusalem.

"The thing is it's all different," said Horton, "You never know what is going to be the same what is going to be different about it."

For his project Horton plans to compare the soils characteristics.  He says this project has put the world at his fingertips.

"That makes it a little more special getting it from somewhere we have never been," said Horton.

To mark the different places that Brode has received dirt, he actually has a map of the United States. He put a corresponding sticker when he receives the dirt and one thing that he has learned along the way is every soil has a story.

"Like Florida," explained Horton, "Someone from the Redwoods sent me pictures of all of it and a biography behind the redwood forest."

One woman in Ireland sent Horton dirt with a letter describing how her daughters were in the hit British band B-Witched and they grew up on the soil she was sending.

After checking out Horton's collection, I noticed several key states were missing so I did what I could to help all in the name science...adding a little bit of Arkansas dirt.

Even though the project isn't due until next year Horton already has future plans for his collection.

"We'll probably put it in a flower bed and say we have the whole world at our place," said Horton.

Brode Horton is still looking for dirt from a number of states around the country. If you are interested in helping Horton find more dirt for his project, you can contact him at soil_project@sbcglobal.net.