When playing outside, do you ever see a squirming little worm digging into the dark soil? That is an earth scientist at work! This week’s Lunch Bite Highlight focuses on worms we might find in our garden this spring while planting seeds. We love worms here at The Environmental Center, and being able to allow our young explorers observe the earth scientists at work. Through both our EarthSmart classes and our after-school Garden Club, we are able to get a closer glimpse of why these worms are essential for a healthy ecosystem.
Last week during our after-school Garden Club, we focused on how worms can benefit our community garden. Taking a closer look at our squirmy friends, we learned that worms prefer dark areas to light areas. When one student would gently pick up a worm, they would notice how it would quickly wiggle its way back to the dark dirt. Our young scientists also noticed that it was quite hard to tell the difference between the head of a worm, and the tail of a worm. Using magnifying glasses, our young educators made many observations about the size of the worms, their movement, and behavior when put in different situations. Overall, worms are pretty amazing creatures!
Not only did we spend time observing the worms behavior, but we also examined the different benefits of worms in our garden soil. Worms provide a special fertilizer which holds a lot of nutrients for a healthy garden. This worm casting is technically just worm poop, which proves that every part of the worm is beneficial to soil! These castings help with plant growth, prevent diseases, and water retention. As you can see, worms play a crucial part in having a healthy garden. This website goes more in-depth with what castings are, their benefits, and tips with using them.
So how can we teach our young learners the importance of worms? Well, hands on experience with worms can act as a great teaching tool for them. As we’ve done in our EarthSmart classes and Garden Club, allowing students to see worms at work helps them explore all aspects of these amazing creatures. Wonder Worman is located right here in Bend and sells worms that you can use in your gardens. The Urban Farmer of Bend also sells worms and even their help and consultation with your garden goals. Allowing students to play outside and use their observational skills when handling worms can help them better understand and appreciate these tiny earth scientists!
For more Lunch Bites with activities in both English and Spanish, click here.