Let's Get Muddy!
Updated: Apr 21
Aimed at children and adults alike, this blog is an attempt to raise awareness of the tiny creatures that call our gardens home!
You will need:
Notepad and pen: For noting down any exciting discoveries
Shovel: For digging deeper and unearthing some cool critters!
Magnifying glass/ hand lens: Not a necessity, but good for getting a closer look at your findings
Camera: A way of keeping a record of what you find
Light coloured tray: Brilliant if you want to get a good look at any mud-dwelling minibeasts
What to wear:
Clothes that won't mind getting a bit dirty
TOP TIP: Dress for the weather! If its cold, be sure to wrap up warm.
All set? Great!
Choose a spot to get digging. Anywhere with soil is fine. (Make sure to ask permission before digging up the flower bed!)
Take the shovel and dig. You don't have to dig too deep but far enough to get a decent sized sample.
If you have a tray, put the mud you just dug up onto it and spread it out. If you don't have a tray, don't worry! You can have a search through the mud with your hands instead.
Note down what you find. Use your magnifying glass to get a better look if you have one. At first it may seem as though there's nothing there, but keep looking! Some things are really tiny and difficult to spot. These identification resources may come in useful:
Be sure to take photos of anything you find. Here's some of mine:
(From top left: Soil dwelling centipede (geophilomorph), woodlouse (Oniscidea), fly larvae (could be Bibionidae), springtail (entomobryid))
WASH YOUR HANDS! Wash with soap and water to get all the mud off, check under your nails too.
Upload your finds to worldwide databases to help with future research! Here's some you can check out:
You could even upload to social media, be sure to tag us using #fixingtheearth so we can see what you find!
I found lots of earthworms! If you want to find out more about how to sample specifically for earthworms then check out the National Earthworm Recording Scheme: https://www.earthwormsoc.org.uk/ners#:~:text=Anyone%20can%20submit%20records%20of,earthworm%20species%20in%20the%20UK.