Willington Public Library hosts its first earthworm races

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Willington - posted Wed., Aug. 7, 2013
Bryce and Elody give their worms a little boost during the worm races at the Willington Public Library. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Bryce and Elody give their worms a little boost during the worm races at the Willington Public Library. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Who would think a slimy blind creature with no legs could race? The beneficial local earthworms that enrich the soil took some time out from their hard work and came to the library on Aug. 1 with their temporary owners, to bring lots of fun and laughter to all who participated in the Willington Public Library’s first earthworm race. Program director Deb Linares told the kids to please return the worms to their homes after the races complete.

The racers’ names were clever and imaginative: there was Stretch, Duster, Rarity Diamond, Slimy, and Ernie the wormy, named after Ernie on “Sesame Street,” to name just a few.

There were a few rules set down for worms and their managers. Each child could squirt their worm two times and blow on them to motivate movement from a plastic circle to the outside perimeter.

The worms couldn’t hear music, but the “William Tell Overture” helped liven up the race for the human participants. “Coax and cheer your worm on,” Linares encouraged. Parents, kids and teen helpers all had fun. “The teens are a huge help with the programs I do,” Linares said. Many of those teens participated in programs in years past and were delighted to help out.

Linares gave a number of historic and scientific facts about worms in her lead up to the race. “What creature can feel without hands?” she asked. She explained that worms are underground farmers who turn the soil over like a plough, and that they have been around for 120 million years - much longer than humans by about 118 million years.

The race was very official, with runoffs held until the two champions were named: Teraziah and her worm Rosie were tied with Jason and his worm Stretch.

Each child received a certificate for participation, and following the race there was a crafting session when kids could make a creative worm using cardboard and yarn.

Parents enjoyed the event as much as the kids. “These programs are great. Lots of Willington people get together and the kids can make new friends, as well as the adults. The staff makes the programs a lot of fun,” Heather Tomm said.


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