Looking for something to do over the Half term holidays?
Want to get the children outside?
Why not join up with The Big Worm Dig, it will run throughout the May half term school holidays from Monday 26th May to Sunday 1st June. You can join in by digging in your own garden or for Londoners short of space there will be a ‘Big City Dig’ at London Wildlife Trust’s Camley Street Natural Park near Kings Cross on 31st May (12 Camley St, London N1C 4PW).
Riverford is hoping to get as many people as possible to take part in its Big Worm Dig survey. Using the handy booklet available through their website, simply dig a small patch of soil in your garden, identify the worms you find with their easy key and upload results to the Big Worm Dig website.
Organic veg producer Riverford is teaming up with earthworm experts Dr Kevin Butt and Dr Chris Lowe from the University of Central Lancashire to organise a citizen science project to record volume and species of earthworms across the UK using Big Worm Dig Kits (free to order from Riverford’s website). The results will be analysed by the University of Central Lancashire and released in September.
Why? Earthworms are incredibly important in soil ecology, but very little is known about the British earthworm population. The results will tell us more about the conditions and regions they thrive in.
The event at Camley Street is free for anyone to attend. Kits are free and available to order from www.riverford.co.uk/bigwormdig. Big Worm Dig Kits will be available for consumers to use at the Big City Dig in Camley Street.
Working with earthworm experts Dr Kevin Butt and Dr Chris Lowe from the University of Central Lancashire, Riverford hopes to collate survey results from all over the country.
“Earthworms are incredibly important in soil ecology, but very little is known about the British earthworm population,” says Dr Butt. “We’re excited to see what the survey might reveal, and really pleased to be involved in the project.”“They may not be the most appealing of creatures, but we really need worms,” explains Riverford’s founding farmer, Guy Watson. “They are like mini tractors, loosening up the soil to allow air and water to penetrate. They also convert soil nutrients into a form that plants can use more readily, which is why we love them at Riverford; they help look after our veg. Whenever I find worms in our soils, I’m a happy farmer.”
As well as this, much of the UK’s wildlife depends on worms as a source of protein, including birds, badgers, hedgehogs, moles and foxes.
We was sent the pack from Riverford so that we could join in the big worm dig at home this week, in the pack was a magnifying glass card, a packet of organic mustard powder and a booklet to help us with the dig. Inside the booklet it tells us where worms live, how to detect them, how to dig for them, how to identify a worm and a little about the survey.
We followed the instructions on how to dig for a worm by finding an area in the garden and digging down about 10cm and wetting the soil a bit, we waited for a while until the water soaked in and then the boys started to sift through the soil, our soil was very dry and we found lots of rubble and stones which made it a bit hard to dig any further. After about 15 minutes of searching the boys found a small little worm, they were so excited. They quickly turned to the identifying a worm page in the booklet to work out which type of worm they had found. It was a juvenile (baby) one so they returned it back to the soil.
Once you have found some worms you can upload your results at www.riverford.co.uk/bigwormdig, you will need to know where you found them, the postcode and what method you used to find them.
Over the summer Riverford also plans to host Big Worm Dig events at its farms in Devon, Hampshire and Cambridgeshire.
So what are you waiting for, get digging, have fun outdoors and learn about worms 🙂
we was sent a copy of the pack for the purpose of this post, which we chose to do as the boys love the outdoors