Early birds really do get the worm

EARLY birds are being urged by a Northumberland garden centre to make a contribution to a national study.

During October, Heighley Gate Nursery & Garden Centre near Morpeth is offering people the chance to find out more about the Natural History Museum’s soil and earthworm survey and how they can get involved.

Staff will be on hand to show people the downloaded survey workbook and talk to them about how they can take part in the initiative.

To take part, you need a colour print-out of the survey pack documents and some everyday items, including pH strips, which are available for sale at the garden centre, a sachet or small amount of mustard, a sachet or small amount of vinegar and a plastic ruler.

General Manager Roger Wale said: “Earthworms are very important for healthy gardens, so taking part in this research is essential.

“Everybody can take part in this survey, whatever your age or ability. It’s very easy to do and you’ll be contributing valuable research to the museum’s scientists — we will also be conducting our own survey on-site.”

Full instructions can be found in the survey workbook, which can be downloaded from www.opalexplorenature.org (click on the ‘Soil’ tab).