Youngsters finding out the wonder of worms at Carlton Marshes

Youngsters enjoy the half term activity of worm charming on Carlton Marshes.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Youngsters enjoy the half term activity of worm charming on Carlton Marshes. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

THEY are the humble creatures that spend their lives hidden beneath our feet.

But earthworms now have a new set of young fans, after a day of discovery at Carlton Marshes nature reserve.

On Tuesday, Suffolk Wildlife Trust hosted a worm day which gave children aged four to seven the opportunity to find out more about the wriggly creatures that gardeners and farmers value so highly.

As part of the activites, four teams competed against each other in a “worm charming” contest that saw them trying to lure as many earthworms as possible to the surface by imitating the sound of rain striking the ground.

Assisted by the reserve’s education officer Gemma Smith, the children jumped up and down and banged forks on the ground to coax the worms to the surface – the winning team collecting an impressive 30 in just 15 minutes.

The youngsters also picked up a top tip – learning that molehills were a perfect place to find earthworms.

Gemma said: “We found a large group of them by the mole hills. Worm charming works as it create the same vibrations as rain hitting the ground. The worms think it is raining and come to the surface.

“We found the largest group of worms by the molehills.”

During the day, the children also made their own string “worms” and examined tiger worms in the reserve’s wormery.

They were also fascinated to learn that worms did not have teeth, that they laid eggs and could live for up to five years.

“Worms are fantastic creatures. They are nature’s recyclers and are very good for the environment. It is fascinating to think they live their lives underground,” Gemma said. “The day went really, really well. The children were all really interested in finding out about worms and were really keen to get up close to them.”

For details of forthcoming events at Carlton Marshes and other local nature reserves, visit

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