Ever been so bored out of your mind that you started to do random things to avert your attention from what actually matters? That was my constant battle with myself these past few weeks. The idea of being outside in the sun was not something that I was looking forward to. Prior to our class experiment, I frankly did not find anything interesting about observing things and did not believe I would learn anything new. Although I absolutely dreaded being outside looking for worms, somewhere along this quite interesting project, I not only learned a valuable lesson, I also learned very important things regarding worms that I did not pay close attention to before.
Everyday for about an hour and a half my group and I gathered all of our materials and took a nice walk to a specific spot to find worms. Sounds fun right? Well not to me. Our first stop was the South side Pinewoods of the WCC Campus which we had previously visited with our entire class. In this spot we dug up four sections along a transect that we would collect worms from. As we entered the woods, I could not help but to get frustrated as all these bugs surrounded me. I constantly was shooing mosquitoes away and slapping other bugs off of me. For each section we parted, we had a wait time of 30 minutes that went by extremely slow. We poured our liquid mustard extraction onto the soil and waited for the worms to come out. I’m pretty sure no one was as excited to exit the woods like I was. The second spot we observed the worms from was the 2nd pond on the West side of the WCC Campus. At this location, our transect was on very dry trail that did not make anything more fun for me. Again, mosquitoes all over me, and this spot even had baby frogs all over. For another hour we sat in the sun waiting for worms that never came. You can clearly see my frustration in this picture above. My excitement was at an all time low, and I was glad to be near the end. On our very last day out, we visited the pond area again just to be drenched in rain and returned back without any signs of worms. I was glad to be over with the project and still felt that I did not really learn much except that worms don’t like mustard on them and that soil differentiation matters when trying to find worm density.
To say I was relieved to be done with this all was an understatement. It did not hit me that there was an actual meaning behind this all until we wrote our field study summary a few days ago. I chose to ignore the main things I was being taught. I realized that my teacher did not sent us out to the woods to bore us to death and “sabotage” worms but we were actually learning things despite the long period of time it took. For example, in the Pinewoods my group and I believed we would get a large amount of worms because the soil seemed to have a lot of moisture in it. For the pond, we believed we would find even more worms because the pond has water and worms like water. Once the results of our soil samples came back, I was taken by an all time surprise to find out that the soil near the pond actually had way more moisture in it than the Pinewoods. Why? well the soil near the pond was very compacted, plus we did not get any worms so we came to the conclusion that most likely worms probably could not burrow through the soil that was almost as hard as concrete. Last but not least, like mentioned in the interview of the author of the book “Lab Girl” I realized that we tend to not pay much attention the the green things in our lives and nature itself. Especially with our generation today, were much more focused on our electronics and don’t realize that there is so much we can get from just being outside. Unfortunately for me, my phone died twice while visiting our locations with my group. During this time, I was able to stop thinking about the bugs and worms and actually take in my surroundings. In the Pinewoods, when collecting a soil sample for the class, I was able to see the different types of plants around me, and these beautiful flowers along the trail. Near the pond, while it was raining, these baby frogs were surrounded the entire ground, and I had the pleasure of having one jump onto me, I was able to see it up close and take in all it’s amazing features. Although I probably got more mosquito bites in a week than I normally would, with just an open mind, I was able to learn something and take in the beauty of nature all out.