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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

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This week, facts about the World’s Worm Charming Championships in Willaston, England. Contestants have half an hour to charm the most worms out of the ground.


CURWOOD: It's Living On Earth; I'm Steve Curwood.

[Music: Tony Borello "There's a New Sound]

CURWOOD: Instead of coming up roses in Willaston every June, it comes up--worms. The small town in western England hosts the annual Worm-Charming Championships.

[Boinging sound of "There's a New Sound" in the background]

CURWOOD: Each contestant gets a nine-square-meter of earth, and attempts to raise as many worms as possible in a half hour. Eleven- year-old Nicholas O'Malley won last year. He says that there are many ways to charm a worm.

O'MALLEY: Some people use drums, and scare the worms to the top, and others dance, and some play musical instruments.

CURWOOD: But Nicholas prefers another technique: he and his grandfather stick a pitchfork in the ground, and strike it again and again. The vibrations bring the worms out of hiding.

O'MALLEY: My grand-dad was shaking the worms, and banging the fork with his stick, and I grabbed the worms. And I caught 337 worms.

CURWOOD: Worm-charmers have to adhere to some strict rules. The use of water to moisten the soil is strictly prohibited. And contestants who attempt to increase their number of worms, by cutting the creatures in half, are immediately disqualified.

[Sound of worm squishing]

CURWOOD: And for this week, that's the Living On Earth Almanac.

[Music: Tony Borello "There's a New Sound"]



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