CANCELED: Invasive worm species threatens Vermont forests and gardens

UPDATE: Rockingham Library will be closed as of March 17 and all upcoming events have been postponed or canceled.

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – University of Vermont soil scientist Dr. Joseph Gorres will give a talk on the invasive worm species Amynthas agrestis and other snake worms that are threatening the health of Vermont forests and gardens Saturday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at the Rockingham Library.

These worms are also known as crazy snake worms, Alabama wrigglers or jumpers, and jumping worms because of their size and how actively they writhe when handled. Learn how this aggressive worm can affect young forest seedlings, deer browsing, the safety of ground-nesting birds, and even the state’s supply of maple syrup. These worms are already in Bellows Falls, in gardens and wooded areas. They spread through plant containers, compost and soil deliveries, shoe treads, tire treads, and other means such as purchase online.

These are different species from the European earthworms and reproduce much faster. They are also poisonous to fish and birds. They present a danger to sloped hills by altering the soil around trees, thereby exposing their roots and causing instability. These worms are just one element in a changing ecosystem and are moving north due to the warming seasons. Dr. Gorres will also offer easy guidelines for identifying this worm and its cocoon. He might even recruit a few volunteers to gather data for his study.

This event is free and open to the public. The library is located at 65 Westminster St., Bellows Falls, Vt., and is accessible. For more information, go to www.rockinghamlibrary.org, call 802-463-4270, email programming@rockinghamlibrary.org, or stop by the library.

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