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"It may be doubted whether there are many other animals in the world which have played so important a part in the history of the world..."

—Charles Darwin

Was Darwin really talking about WORMS?

Yes! Worms may be small, but they can be a big force in the area where they live. Scientists estimate that a healthy population of 50-200 worms per square meter of ground can "move" nearly 30 pounds of soil each year! In one acre there can be a million or more worms, eating 10 tons of leaves, stems, and dead roots a year and turning over 40 tons of soil. Worms are so effective because of their squirmy movement and unique digestion.

This section of the site will help you learn more about worms in your watershed.

Why Worms?

and what does a worm have in common with a watershed? Find out more about worms and the huge role they play in nature.

Worm Activity

In the activity outlined on this site, students count worms in two different sampling areas. This is not simply a math lesson in counting. Rather, students have a real-life, tangible topic from which to delve into questions of ecosystem health. They might question what makes a good or a bad worm habitat?

To answer these questions, they might further study the soil density, the history of the land, and the worm predators—all factors involved with watersheds and ecosystem health.

Each step is matched with a Wisconsin Model Academic Standard.