Thursday, December 1, 2011

Worm Niche

      In science we are studying different ecosystems. We are currently learning about the layers of the forest and all of the animals and plants that make their homes there. On the forest floor you will find worms in abundance. Well, that is what the book told us. Our mission for the day was to make a worm niche. We were going to recreate a worm habitat. It sounded easy enough.We gathered our jars and oatmeal and went outside to hunt for worms. I was dreading it a little bit, but I kept reminding myself that I was the same little girl who once dug for worms and put them on hooks for fishing. What was the matter with me? It was no big deal.

     Autumn and Chase grabbed the shovels and started digging in a dark patch of soil. Nothing. Where were they?? Napping? Did they hear us coming and scatter? I took the shovel and dug about three feet down. Nothing. It was a little, dirty, worm ghost town. I could see this science experiment quickly going south, like all of the others. The kids were getting discouraged and moral was slipping fast. The baby was even digging, but she too struck out.

"OK!" I yelled, "Let's go over by the garden. Surely that is where worms hang out."

    The soil was rich, dark, and worm free. Nothing. We had now been at it for an hour. I recalled SELLING worms to fishermen when I was a girl, and I knew I never worked this hard. What was I doing wrong and why weren't there any worm hunting tips in that book we had just read? I told the kids to get in the van. We were going to Dave's Sporting goods to BUY some worms for our niche. It would cost money yes. but we would save a few earthworms from a certain death and for that, I told them, it was worth it.

     We walked into the store and asked the lady at the counter if we could buy some worms. She pointed to the refrigerator. I told her about our bad luck but she didn't seem to care in the least. She even looked at me like I was mildly annoying her. After she charged us, she suddenly became a wealth of information. She said,

   "What you want to do, is turn on the sprinkler about an hour before you go out. The worms will all come to the top and you just scoop em up by the shovel fulls."

Autumn looked at me and said,

 "She tells us that after we just paid? Wouldn't that have been helpful information about ten minutes ago?"

     It didn't matter. We went home and made our worm niches. We layered rocks and oatmeal and dirt in the jars.These would be the happiest worms in Whatcom County. We were to watch them daily and sketch the changes.

      Over the next few days we checked on our worms. They chose to stay in the direct center of the jars. We never saw them. After a few days a slight film of mold appeared on the top of the dirt. I grabbed the jars, marched out to the garden, dug a little hole and dumped the worms in. They were on their own now. We gave them a second chance, and what they did with their new lives was up to them. We were on to other things, like making our own water cycle. No live animals involved.

   A few days later we were up in Canada watching Beau with the RMM pipe band. It was rainy and cold. Autumn pointed at a pile of worms wriggling on the ground and smiled at me. She pursed her lips and just shook her head.


  1. I STILL need to do this. I keep getting sidetracked and I forget to buy all the things I need. Looks like fun, I am going to have to get with it! :) P.S. you are better than me, I never intended on getting my worms any other way than buying them. :)

  2. I was going to tell you to turn your sprinkler on... you should have asked me! LOL Everytime it rains our parking slab is covered with worms!

  3. Deeann! Where were you when I needed you?! :)