I'd like to draw attention to the rhizosphere, a term coined in 1904 by Lorenz Hiltner, one of the founders of applied soil microbiology and organic farming. This is the close relationship between plant roots, soil, and soil organisms within the detritus of the soil ecosystem; an amazing region of trophic interactions whose abundance and diversity exceeds that of any other. I am reminded of Avatar's Pandoran neural network (or the Norse Yggdrasil), which in turn seems inspired by the Gaia theory. But sci-fi comparisons aside, this is an extremely rich area for study.
Aristotle said: "We educate ourselves so that we can make a noble use of our leisure." The idea that education is for the mind and soul, for the whole person – the citizen, the parent, the voter, the reader, the lover, the traveller, the human being in the round – is lost to view in trying to make university education a mere continuation of school for the same sausage-machine purpose of churning out employees. - AC Grayling