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Explaining the wonders of earthworms

Get your farm visitors to appreciate the wonders of earthworms. It’s more than just explaining earthworms and their work. Involve your visitors in identifying different types with an easy-to-use ‘which worm is which’ worm chart.

Get up close to worms

Inviting close inspection, especially with hand lenses, makes exciting observation of detail possible. Deepen the experience by setting your visitors the task of categorising the different worms they see. There are 27 types of earthworm in the UK. Spotting some key differences in the catch of worms from a spadeful is easy.

Top facts to use in explaining earthworms

  • worms eat a third of their body weight every day
  • all worms are strong and can push ten times their own weight as they burrow through the soil
  • each worm can produce 4.5 kilos of worm casts a year
  • worm casts contain ten times as many nutrients as the surrounding soil
  • the more worms the better

Guide to earthworm identification

One of the best guides to getting to know earthworms is produced by Open Air Laboratories Explore Nature (OPAL). OPAL  encourages people to ‘spend time outside observing and recording the world round us’. The world of worms is just one of the habitats they encourage us to explore. It’s easily done on a farm.

Getting excited about science

The OPAL Key to Common Earthworms gives you more than just the details to look for.

explaining earthworms identification chart

Identifying earthworm species is easy with the OPAL Worm ID chart. Helps with explaining earthworms too.

The key also gives guidance on how to do much more than just classify the worms found on farm. You can find out how to conduct a worm survey with a soil pit and complete soil discovery experience. Before you know it you are all – farmer, schoolchildren and teacher – involved in some real citizen science.

Citizen science on farms

Citizen science – where the general public collects and analyses data relating to the natural world, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists – is increasingly popular. Exploring the wonders of worms gives you and your farm visitors a chance to do some ‘serious’ science that can be uploaded to the Open Air Laboratories Explore Nature website.

Meanwhile, during the visit and long after, in the darkness of the farmland soil, worms continue to do their wondrous work. Farming with worms is magic.