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Embracing the Mess: International Mud Day

Over 70 families gathered to embrace the mess and explore the natural world around us. A morning of muddy fun connected children with nature through the simple joy of playing in mud encouraging creativity, sensory exploration, and environmental awareness in a playful setting.

Hosted by the Izaak Walton League in partnership with the Des Plaines Public Library, this event carries a deeper message: the importance of clean soil and sustainable practices. As children engage in activities like Mud Play, Mud Paint, and creating Mud Pies in the Mud Kitchen, they’re having fun AND learning about the earth beneath their feet. They discover firsthand how soil supports life and why it is important to protect our soil.

Mud is a natural resource that teaches us about the earth’s biodiversity and ecological balance. By immersing themselves in mud-based activities, children develop a respect for nature and a sense of stewardship towards the environment, creating experiences that can shape their attitudes and behaviors toward conservation as they grow.

The outdoor environment provides the perfect backdrop for spontaneous exploration and learning. Whether it’s sliding through a muddy slip and slide, or reading Mud Books under the shade of a tree, every activity invites children to engage with nature in meaningful ways.

So, why should families and educators embrace International Mud Day? It’s an opportunity to break away from screens and schedules, encouraging kids to connect with nature in a hands-on and memorable manner. It promotes physical activity, boosts creativity, and nurtures a love for the outdoors that can last a lifetime.

Join the Izaak Walton League's efforts to promote clean soil practices to ensure that future generations inherit a planet where mud – and all that it represents – remains a source of joy, learning, and environmental health.


Our natural resources connect us all—the water we drink, the climate we live in, the outdoors we enjoy. In the face of water quality concerns, climate change, and more, we need to work together to protect them.

Three simple steps to help:

  • Put soil health at the center of our nation’s agricultural policy. This may seem obvious, but policies currently fail to recognize healthy soil's primacy.

  • Increase long-term investments in soil health and conservation programs with a clear, demonstrated record of success, like the Wetland Reserve Easements Program which has restored and protected more than 2.5 million acres of wetlands across the U.S.

  • Focus conservation dollars on programs that work with state and Tribal efforts and leverage available non-federal dollars. A grant program that leverages resources from states and Tribes to combine with federal investments in soil health could lead to practices on tens of millions of acres of farmland that will drastically reduce polluted runoff and help farmers grow healthier food.

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