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SK Worm

Talking Earth Worm Teaches Importance of Soil

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What better way to learn about soil than to have a critter that lives in the soil tell all about its’ environment? An exciting project that was completed in 2010 by Erie Basin is the S. K. Worm project.

S.K. Worm was born at (BG) Life Formations and arrived at the Erie Basin RC&D office on March 1st, 2010. This project consists of a six foot tall museum quality animatronics model of the NRCS mascot S. K. Worm coming out of a detailed soil monolith that shows soil layers, structure, color, rocks, animals, and artifacts. The animated worm has been used as an educational tool for K – 6th grade level students in teaching the composition of the earth’s soil. S. K. Worm allows for basic audience interactivity. The model moves and talks; activated either by a push button interface or from live takeover controlled by an instructor.

Designed to help third grade students meet their Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Benchmarks for Earth and Space science, the model will teach soil composition, soil conservation, soil diversity, and renewable energy. The model can also be used at events to educate the general public on the importance of soils in our environment, including fairs, field days, day camps, and other venues. S K Worm now has a shorter program for Fair Booth/EXPO Booth demonstrations.

The S.K. Worm model is available for rental by educators and other groups. A trailer painted with an environmental mural transports the model.

Erie Basin is made up of ten counties in North Central Ohio including Ashland, Crawford, Erie, Huron, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Wood, and Wyandot. Erie Basin is governed by a thirty member council made up of County Commissioners, Soil and Water Conservation District board members , and members at large.

For more information on the S.K. Worm model, including detailed rental information, contact the Erie Basin RC&D at 419-681-6013. The Erie Basin RC&D Office is located in Norwalk, Ohio.

This project was funded by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund, the Erie Basin RC&D Council, the Lake Erie Buffer Team, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Ohio Electric Cooperatives.

On March 1, 2020, S.K. Worm celebrated it’s 10th birthday & excellent record of performance. Since his arrival S.K. has performed 208 days at 128 events. He has made presentations to 60 schools, 214 classes and 6,560 students. S K Worm has helped students meet the Ohio Department of Education Science Standards for soils. Over 45,436 adults and 40,830 children have enjoyed learning about this country’s greatest natural resource, its soil. SK has traveled over 11,044 miles visiting 50 counties and 3 states. S. K. Worm is transported in a trailer modified with a wrap showing a cross section of the state of Ohio starting on the shores of Lake Erie and ending on the banks of the Ohio River. Ohio Geology, Ohio energy sources, and conservation practices are depicted on the trailer. He’s earned $11,090.

The cost of this animatronics marvel was $52,000. The trailer to haul him was $3000 plus a $4,000 wrap. The entire project cost was over $80,000.

On May 30, 2015, Mike Patterson delivered S.K.W. to his Birth Place (BG) Life Formations for brain surgery (replace a computer module) & refurbishing – at a cost of $1,000. We have spent $1,750 to keep him in top shape to date.

SK Worm Committee

wdt_ID Name County
1 Janet Dell Freeman Seneca
2 Carrie Whitaker, P.E. Seneca
Name County