Saturday, September 13, 2008

Worms!

It all started with the Gorgeously Green book by Sofie Uliano. I picked up the book at Costco. Then I saw Sofie's appearance on Oprah. Including the worm incident.

I've made lots of changes to become more green. We have changed the products we buy. We bring our own bags to the store each week. We use reusable sandwich mats and plastic bag alternatives. My clothes are drying out on the clothesline on the patio as I type this.

One of the things I wanted to try was composting. I have been trying to decide how to do it. After much research and debate, I decided to try vermicomposting in my classroom. As a district teacher of the year winner, the school was given $200 and I was given the job of deciding how to spend it. After talking with my third grade team, I decided to purchase the Teacher Special #2 from Happy D Ranch for a grade level composting project. We thought we would try out one bin and then if it went well we would look to add one for each of the three classrooms.

At about the same time we ordered the first bin, I got information about a grant program from the local chamber of commerce. I wrote a proposal called, "Going Green in the Third Grade Garden" asking for $842 to buy two more worm bins and enough Square Foot Garden boxes for each student to have one square foot to call their own. I spent one of the first days of summer vacation writing the grant and found out last week that they decided to give us the money.

Our first worm bin came a couple of weeks ago. I set up the Can-O-Worms in my classroom. I have a fear of baking worms so they will live inside. It is hot in Florida! (My mom was shocked when I told her about this. As we were on the phone she was googling the whole thing and I heard her read out, "The only smell should be a slight rain forest aroma.")

A little over a week after the Can-O-Worms arrived a battered box arrived at the mail room. When the mail room worker went to re-tape the box, she discovered a worm or two or three that had escaped. She screamed. I am sure they are not very happy with me!

We gathered all the kids during the last 10 minutes of school to watch me add the worms to their new home in the Can-O-Worms. The looks on their faces ranged from excitement to curiosity to disgust. I was terrified that the worms would not be alive moving much after getting lost in the mail. It became very clear, very quickly that my fears were for nothing.



Yes, I did have to touch the worms. I had more than one student offer to do that part for me. I assured them I could handle it!

The worms took SO long to get there that the company sent me another 2 pounds of worms. They arrived on Friday. The office manager came to see me because the box was smashed. Badly. Luckily my worms were resilient.

It also meant that I got to add an additional 2 pounds of worms to our Can-O-Worms. It is what everyone wants to do on a Friday afternoon after a full day of teaching.



So there you have it! I am reading two books on vermicomposting. We fed them the dead celery from my fridge on Friday. Eventually we are going to use organic waste from snacks and classroom scrap paper to feed our worms. Then down the line we will use the worm "poop" in our garden.

I've gotten a great response from just about everyone. Although I think my mom is glad that I discovered worms after I moved out of her house!

1 comment:

Colleen said...

School Gardens
Constance Carter, Head of the Science Reference Section, Library of Congress, describes the history of the school garden in America and offers reasons why school gardens are making a comeback.
http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/journey/schoolgardens.html