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Cathy's Crawly Composters


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Bradford Living

March 2005

Worms are Hearty Educators

Cathy Nesbitt introduces Megan to worms at
Bradford Public School

Worms are Hearty Educators

by Carole McGill Plant

The 'worm' is out thanks to local environmentalist Cathy Nesbitt. Her company, Cathy's Crawly Composters, is a leader in the field of vermicomposting - or using worms to compost organic matter into nutrient rich castings.

Can you believe that each red wiggler worm has five hearts and can consume half of their weight per day in waste? Very impressive.

This means that one pound of these busy little invertebrates can convert three to four pounds of food waste per week into quality vermicompost.

Not only that, but that same pound of worms would possess between 4,000 and 5,000 beating hearts. Talk about a lot of love for the planet.

Vermicomposting is a wonderful alternative to traditional backyard composting, particularly if you do not have a backyard.

Having a vermicomposter is not only a great thing to do considering the current garbage crisis but it also converts food scraps into quality compost that returns much needed nutrients to the soil.

Worm castings are very popular among suave gardeners because they increase plant growth as well as bloom size and colour intensity. In a nutshell, vermicomposting brilliantly completes the natural cycle of growth.

Schools are finally recognizing how excited students become about environmental conservation and have begun introducing worm bins to the classroom.

Worm provide a tremendous cross-curricular learning opportunity.

In fact, teachers who have vermicomposters in their classrooms have reported that students find the bins an inspiration for them to eat healthier foods themselves.

Why? Because the students want to feed the worms and worms do not eat wrappers, cookies, chips or any packaged goods.

When students ask to feed the worms, teachers are presented with the perfect opportunity to promote good health by saying, "If you would like to feed the worms, you need to bring fruit or vegetables for them to eat."

Recently, Cathy's Crawly Composters was featured in American's leading composting and recycling journal, BioCycle.

As a result, Cathy was contacted by a Michigan-based environmental organization (where is it that we send our excess garbage again?) and is working with this group to set up a vermicomposters "pen pal" arrangement to launch in Ontario and Michigan schools.

Pen pals will be matched by grade level and will be able to share stories about their worm bin experiments and observations.

Photos and stories will be featured on the Cathy's Crawly Composter website.

"The learning potential for Ontario is huge," said Cathy. "It is so ironic that we ship our garbage to Michigan and they are the ones teaching their children better waste management techniques."

She went on to explain that, "This largely due to the work of Michigan's respected microbiologist, Mary Appelhof. Because of the awareness that she has raised around vermicomposting, most - if not all - schools in Michigan use vermicomposters. Many schools have worm bins in each classroom in addition to an outdoor, insulated worm bin to manage excess food scraps generated by the school."

Cathy pointed out that, because Ontario and Michigan share similar climate patterns, the applications developed south of the border could be easily applied here.

"In other words," said Cathy, "we are looking for schools to dig in deep - pardon the worm pun - at this critical time in the history of our planet's environmental health. We want to see all of the students in Ontario sharing worm bin stories with all of the students in Michigan…and move the program globally from there."

You can learn more by contacting Cathy at or by calling 905-775-9495.

"After all," added our little local visionary, "February is Heart Month. And worms are all heart!"

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Cathy's Crawly Composters

Bradford, Ontario
Local: (905) 775-9495
Toll Free: 1-888-775-9495