Worm is turn­ing in gar­den

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

EX­CUSE me for get­ting ex­cited but I have just been told that 2015 is the In­ter­na­tional Year of Soils.

Stop smirk­ing, soil is very im­por­tant to the en­vi­ron­ment and our well­be­ing. And it’s a bit more ex­cit­ing than pre­vi­ous United Na­tions des­ig­na­tions – Year of Quinoa 2013, and Year of the Potato 2008. Stand by for 2016 when we have an In­ter­na­tional Year of Pulses, which will re­ally get your blood rac­ing!

Some of the bet­ter years have in­cluded 2009’s Year of the Go­rilla. Hope­fully events dur­ing all th­ese years will have helped to raise aware­ness of the sorry state of our en­vi­ron­ment.

The In­ter­na­tional Year of Soils aims to raise aware­ness among the public and the de­ci­sion mak­ers about the pro­found im­por­tance of soil. Ed­u­ca­tion helps in land man­age­ment, to en­sure soils re­main able to pro­vide healthy food through­out the world.

Mem­bers of the won­der­ful Earth­worm So­ci­ety of Bri­tain are par­tic­u­larly pleased about this year’s fo­cus, as worms are vi­tal for en­rich­ing soil qual­ity. They eat or­ganic waste and ‘re­cy­cle’ it to make com­post.

Worms are your best friend in the gar­den as they cause no dam­age to plants but will boost your gar­den’s soil. And they make tasty meals for birds and some mam­mals too.

There are 27 dif­fer­ent species of worm in the UK, and more than 3,000 glob­ally. Many will be in your gar­den, and the Earth­worm So­ci­ety of Bri­tain is look­ing for new mem­bers to help with their an­nual sur­veys.

The In­ter­na­tional Year of Soils means th­ese sur­veys will get a lot more pub­lic­ity dur­ing 2015.

Over the com­ing weeks as you pre­pare your gar­den for spring, see how many types of worm you can spot in your flowerbeds or com­post bins. Are they chest­nut worms, green worms, oc­tag­o­nal-tailed worms or rosy-tipped ones?

You can get help iden­ti­fy­ing them at earth­worm­soc.org.uk but it will mean pick­ing up a worm or two.

That may hor­rify some peo­ple but there is noth­ing bet­ter than feel­ing a worm wig­gling around in your hand. All right, there are lots of bet­ter things, but I like it any­way.

The Earth­worm So­ci­ety of Bri­tain will cel­e­brate the In­ter­na­tional Year of Soils by run­ning iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cour­ses and en­cour­ag­ing wildlife recorders and gar­den­ers to get in­volved in worm-spot­ting.

This will lead to the cre­ation of worm at­lases show­ing the lo­ca­tions of the dif­fer­ent kinds.

So it’s a great year to get on your hands and knees and hunt for worms. I am sure you will all be charmed by it.

To sup­port the work of the Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side text WILD09 with the amount you want to do­nate to 70070. To be­come a mem­ber of the Trust go to the web­site at www.lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

For in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewil­dlifetrust. org.uk.

Alan Wright

●● A black­bird perched on a wooden post with a worm

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