My mother gardens with a serious green thumb, and so as a kid, I spend summers playing around the vegetable garden. She taught me about bugs, which ones were good friends, like sociable ladybugs and graceful garden spiders. She also introduced me to enemies, like the fat tomato horn worms and the dusty green broccoli moths. From my mother, I learned that earthworms help gardeners by breaking down organic matter in the soils into nutrients that the plants can use, and breaking up the substrate with their wriggling to create spaces for roots to use.
Last week, my mother called me with terrible news. “Did you know earthworms are not native?? They are INVASIVE earthworms, and they are really bad for the forest! Did you know about this?”