Worms are cool with kids

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Sloan

They may be wrig­gly, squirmy and a lit­tle bit slimy. But Rosie Petersen thinks worms are cool.

The eight-year-old is part of the Be­lieve in Na­ture team man­ag­ing a new worm farm at Owairaka School.

Do­nated by Mer­cury En­ergy, the farm was of­fi­cially opened on World En­vi­ron­ment Day this month in a cer­e­mony fea­tur­ing songs, guest speak­ers and a chore­ographed worm dance.

Rosie is look­ing for­ward to see­ing how the worm farm works.

“We’re go­ing to learn about how worms eat, how they move and what they do. Ev­ery­one should have a worm farm as long as they re­mem­ber to feed them be­cause it is a good way to help our en­vi­ron­ment.”

Owairaka is one of 10 Auck­land schools in­volved in Mer­cury En­ergy’s worm farm project.

The aim is to raise chil­dren’s en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness by re­duc­ing waste pro­duced by schools.

About 40,000 worms will work in the Owairaka worm farm to re­duce the amount of school waste sent to land­fill by up to 50 per­cent.

The worm farm will re­cy­cle 350kg of pa­per and or­ganic waste a month, con­vert­ing scraps into an or­ganic fer­tiliser called worm tea. The fer­tiliser will be used on the but­ter­fly gar­dens and Maori medic­i­nal herbs at the school.

Prin­ci­pal Diana Tre­goweth says pupils are ex­cited by the project.

“Owairaka is an en­viro-school so we are al­ways look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to help chil­dren to un­der­stand sus­tain­able prac­tices. The worm farm is fan­tas­tic be­cause it is a liv­ing re­cy­cling les­son that stu­dents can share with their fam­i­lies.”

Mer­cury En­ergy re­tail op­er­a­tions man­ager Richard De Luca says worm farms pro­mote life­long sus­tain­able habits.

“Not only do they en­cour­age stu­dents to think about their role in car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment, they pro­vide an out­come that ben­e­fits the en­tire com­mu­nity. We are ex­cited to work with Owairaka to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of green cham­pi­ons.”

Pupil Gabriel Cooper, 8, is also part of the Be­lieve in Na­ture team. She says peo­ple need to be more in­ter­ested in worms.

“Worms are slimy, wrig­gly and full of ex­cite­ment and they have got things we need to learn about them.”

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Wig­gly worms: Owairaka School pupil Rosie Petersen, 8, with some of the worms in the school’s new worm farm do­nated by Mer­cury En­ergy.

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