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After last week’s heavy rain, the Eco Club at Blackheath High had a go at ‘worm charming’. This is the art of encouraging worms to come to the surface by stamping, tapping or making vibrations that could be interpreted as falling rain or a hungry mole approaching!
Seagulls, robins, blackbirds and thrushes are all adept worm charmers, as are some humans; Sophie Smith of Willaston holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the most worms charmed (567!) at the 2009 World Worm Charming Championships. Sadly, despite the enthusiastic application of a variety of techniques, we didn’t manage to charm any worms in the short time we had available but a little digging did turn up enough worms to construct a worm farm.
Worms are an important part of the ecosystem, recycling fallen leaves and other organic matter into soil. In one year, a single worm can process up to 4.5 kg of organic material. They can even grind tiny rocks into a paste which helps to release minerals into the soil.
Charles Darwin was fascinated by the role of worms in the environment and spent many years studying their behaviour. Next week, the Eco Club will be following in his footsteps to learn more about these often overlooked but amazing animals.