You Know What They Say About the Early Bird…

By Linda Meyers

March 23, 2012

Once a week we will be featuring an activity you can try at home or in the classroom. This week's entry is written by Kim Machnik, Senior Coordinator of School Programs at Heifer International.

It’s never too early - or too late - to start learning about how people, animals, and the planet are connected. If you have a preschooler at home, a classroom full of third graders, a youth group of teenagers, or even just a grown-up mind eager to learn, a worm bin is a fun and productive way to start conversations about how living things, including people, rely on one another for survival. Worms are decomposers, which means that they recycle the waste other organisms produce and return it to the soil as usable nutrients for the plants that we and other animals eat. Earthworms are the heroes of the garden, and make it possible for us to grow many of the delicious foods we enjoy. Building a worm bin is easy, educational, and fun.

To begin, you’ll need an opaque plastic bin with a tight fitting-lid that you don’t mind drilling into (maybe there’s one in your house, classroom, or church that you can reuse!), a drill, some shredded newspapers, and soil from outside. You’ll have to order some worms, too- red wigglers are the best choice. Then, check out this great lesson from one of Heifer’s Global Education Resource Kits to learn all about how to build your worm bin, care for your worms, and harvest the worm castings - the valuable fertilizer that will make your garden bountiful and is made from food waste!

In Heifer’s Global Education Resource Kits, there are other fantastic activities, including the book The Chicken and the Worm, that you can use to learn more about worms and how people, worms, and chickens help each other survive and grow. On Heifer’s website, you can also read about how worms (through vermiculture- the agricultural term for worm composting) are helping to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth around the world.