by Connie Dunn
This is a story about an earthworm, a garden and some garden helpers. Did you know that earthworms are natural tillers of the soil? When we grow gardens, we have to prepare the dirt. One way we do this is to till the earth, which breaks it up into small pieces.
I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Robert Redworm. He is an earthworm. He is of the redworm species, which are also called Red Wigglers.
“Hi!” says Robert Redworm. “Who values our home, earth and all its living beings?”
“Good! And who knows about composting?”
Composting is what Robert Redworm does best. Each day every person in the United States throws away five pounds of compostable waste.
What is compost waste? Well, it’s natural garbage that mostly comes from our kitchens.
The fruits and vegetables that you don’t eat or the parts of these that aren’t edible are compostable, which means that earthworms like Robert Redworm can eat these items and turn them into compost or rich material used in gardens to help vegetables, fruits and flowers grow better.
“I can eat leaves that are ground up, as well. Gardens are important, too. They can beautify our land or provide fruits and vegetables to eat,” says Robert Redworm.
Kyla Butterfly says, “I live in the garden, too. And I drink the nectar from the flowers. I move pollen from plant to plant that helps the plants grow fruits and beans and other vegetables.”
“I also live in the garden, says Paul Prayer.”I eat other bugs, some of which eat the leaves and fruits of plants. I can be useful in keeping the garden pest free.
“And it is humans who can help keep our earth healthy by growing gardens and composting,” continues Paul. “Compost conditions the soil, which makes it better able to hold air and water, which helps the plants grow.”
Robert Redworm says,“Did you know that you can compost inside? You can put worms like me into a bin inside one of your cupboards. It’s called vermicomposting. I know, that’s a very long word: Vermi – Composting. Because we, red worms, are very efficient processors of organic waste, we can yield pounds of rich compost in just a short time.”
“Don’t forget to explain that you don’t like the light,” says Kyla. “Butterflies like me adore the sunlight, but worms hide from light.”
”And tell them about how you like shredded paper. Praying Mantis only eats small bugs, but earthworms even eat paper like newspapers and paper towels,” adds Kyla.
“Yes, and we also need moisture,” adds Robert. “But mostly we want humans to know that in the United States, in particular, one-fourth of our landfills are being filled up with organic materials that can be composted either by worms like myself or other composting processes.”
“So how does that help value our home, earth?” asks Paul Prayer.
“Oh! that’s easy!” answers Robert Redworm. “Our landfills are full of decomposing material, which is creating methane gas that contributes to global warming. Global warming is a bigger problem that many human scientists say is caused by methane gas and carbon dioxide. Basically, our planet is getting warmer, which changes all our weather patterns, melts our polar regions, and causes more violent storms.”
“So, if humans feed a lot of their kitchen waste to you and worms like you, they help value the earth?” Kyla questions.
“Yes! And living beings, such as butterflies, praying mantis and humans are valued, as well. Because when everyone – humans and other living beings – value the earth and take care of it, we are all better off,” says Robert Redworm.
“I wonder how the earth would be, if everyone composted?” wonders Kyla Butterfly.
“I wonder if there are any families here at First Universalist Unitarian Church who would begin composting?” wonders Paul Prayer.
“I wonder how the children listening to this story might ask their parents to start such a thing?” Robert Redworm wonders.
“I wonder how these children and their families feel about gardening?” Kyla wonders.
“I wonder how each person feels about valuing our home, earth, and all the living beings?” wonders Robert Redworm.