It so happens that one of our worms, one that came on the trip today is named Jimmy. And from his point of view, today was the most exciting adventure he has ever had. It started last night when his box was packed in the car and he got to do a sleepover in the car with all the mealworms and eggs and pupae in their boxes all stacked together. Then, Even before sunrise, they were off driving and it seemed to go forever. There were many bumps in the road and it was slow going, up and down, stop and start. Eventually, they were on the tollway and it was smooth and fast but already getting quite hot inside the boxes as the sun came up. The long journey had Jimmy and most of his friends and relatives trying to see through their enclosures out the car window but he only got glimpses of sky and overpasses from were he was lying.
What seemed like days later for Jimmy ( about 2 hours) they arrived. Jimmy was taken inside a huge school with shiny white tiled floors and a big wall fan. He was placed on an orange table. He had never seen orange before and was amazed by the colour. All the boxes were put on the table and then opened up. It was a shock at first. The sounds were different from the farm. The air seemed to echo. And there were a lot of people coming and going, walking past and talking. But Jimmy and his friends had no idea what was about to happen for them any moment.
As a prize tiger worm, Jimmy was placed next to the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) containers which were the first at one end of the table. It was a relief really because the BSF are not nearly as sensitive as a special earthworm and he didn’t want to go first. After Jimmy and the other worms, there were mealworm life cycle boxes and the super worms at the other end with their big beetles.
It started all of a sudden, without a warning. Jimmy suddenly heard the sounds of many children. They approached quickly, enthusiastically and looked and saw then screamed and ran. Jimmy had not had that effect on anyone before. Nor had his fellow bugs – but of all of them the worms, most royal, most tigery, were also most sensitive. The children re-approached, got closer and then as one, screamed and ran back.
This went on in waves and stages all along the line until a big hand, one Jimmy recognised from the farm, come in a picked him up along with some of his friends. To his initial terror and amazement, Jimmy was handled, not by one but by a whole lot of inquisitive fingers and excited voices. And this was just the first wave. It was 8am and Jimmy was here, on show until at least 1 pm and it would get busier, louder and more exciting as the day progressed.
Jimmy had to overcome his fear of humans, especially children. He had heard stories about how they might drop him or accidentally forget he was there. And his farm bosses couldn’t keep an eye on everything. He decided to be brave, have the courage and go along with what was happening. And he was pleasantly surprised. Even though there was a lot of movement and the lights were so bright the children were caring and gentle when they held him. He had no idea that they too were overcoming their fear of holding a wriggly, slimy worm and that they had heard stories too. Of course, he didn’t see himself that way!
All in all, it was a cultural exchange. Jimmy and his friends adapted to the many many children and young adults, the different environment and the sounds and the students got to experience some of Nature’s important helpers in their own school. It was a tiring day for jimmy and he and all his friends slept all the way back to the farm.