Makaila Turner-Gerroir can sometimes be a little shy but her entire face lights up when she starts picking up worms.
“They’re good to have in the soil,” said the nine-year-old Bible Hill girl. “Bees work above the ground and worms work underground. They move the soil around and add stuff that’s good for the earth.”
She pointed out that they’re also food for many birds.
Makaila is now on a mission to educate people about worms, but her efforts were ignited by something upsetting.
“Girls and boys at school were being mean to worms,” she said. “They were killing them.”
With a little adult help, she looked up information on earthworms and created fact sheets, which she then distributed at school and around her neighbourhood.
“I took them to people’s doors and some people said they wouldn’t kill worms,” she said. “Some of the kids are still killing them though.”
Makaila’s adoptive mother, Nattie Turner-Gerroir, had been working with her on empathy and was thrilled to see her speaking up for other living beings.
“She has the personality to create change,” said Nattie. “She’s faced bullying and judgment, and this is a big step for her.
“Worms are something she’s familiar with. We’re an angling and gardening family and she knows their importance.”
Makaila has now decided her family shouldn’t be using worms for fishing, and she’ll be rescuing them whenever she can.
“I don’t mind picking up worms,” she said. “I pick them out of puddles and put them on the ground. It’s good to help them.”
Makaila’s fact sheet:
Worms and both male and female.
Worms have up to 1-5 hearts.
Worms are cold blooded.
Worms are 80% water.
There are about 6,000 species of earthworms
It takes over 20,000 compost worms to eat or recycle.
Compost worms are found in every ecosystem and even the ocean.
They can live up to 15 years.
When you or me walk on the ground the worms think it is thunder.
The smallest earthworm in the world is 1cm long.