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The Wild Escape

There’s a Worm at the Bottom of the Garden: What Else Can We Find Outside?

In the spring of 2023, the Garden Museum explored the world of the earthworm as part of The Wild Escape, an Art Fund project which united hundreds of museums, schools and families in a celebration of UK wildlife and creativity.

Earthworms play a crucial role in the health of soil by actively mixing, turning and aerating it. They improve the quality of soil and influence the survival of plant life dependent on this living resource. Earthworms are also an important part of the food chain as a food source for animals.

Our project explored science and art through school sessions where pupils were able to study earthworms. They investigated the structure of earthworms using a range of different microscopes, and then made a small wormery to take back to school. The Garden Museum created our own wormery as part of the project.

Family sessions over February half term and Easter of 2023, focused on creating artwork for a collaborative display. Pupils also created artwork in the science sessions. Sustainability was a key theme and we used paper made from recycled paper cups to paint on, paints made from waste vegetables, coffee and tea and coffee grains to represent soil. We also used natural materials to paint and draw with, including feathers, seedpods, bamboo sticks etc.

The project culminated in Earth Day on Saturday 22 April 2023 where ceramics artist Monica Tong worked with families who used terracotta clay to create wildlife. These were then photographed and submitted onto the Art Fund’s digital collective artwork (below). Some of these were fired and have been on display.

A collaborative art display on our Community Wall was created from the artwork made by school pupils and families participating in the project including children at Evelina Hospital School. This was on display from April to May 2023.

The Project: School sessions 2023

School sessions will focus on science and art through the invertebrates and vertebrates that live in the garden and in the soil. Pupils will have the opportunity to study earthworms under digital and stereo microscopes and create a habitat for them by making portable wormeries to take back to school.

In the second part of the session, pupils will create a cut out two-dimensional creature (invertebrate or vertebrate) for inclusion in a collaborative art display for Earth Day on 22 April. The display will stay up until the end of May for the public to see.

These free sessions are suitable for Year 3 and Year 4 and are led by our Plant Science Educator and our Head of Learning. We are inviting a small selection of primary schools to participate who are based in Lambeth not far from the Garden Museum.

Explore The Wild World

Do you care about the nature around you? Thousands of children across the UK have been creating works of art to celebrate their favourite creatures.

And now you can join in too! Take part in the Art Fund’s epic collective digital artwork, The Wild Escape.

Search for creatures wherever you might find them – they could be lurking in paintings, gardens, or museum collections. Make a drawing of your favourite creature using a pen or pencil, and upload it to the digital artwork where it will meet thousands of other animals made by children across the UK.

Explore The Wild World and add your creation

The Wild Escape is made possible with support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants, with additional support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Kusuma Trust, Foyle Foundation and a group of generous individuals and trusts.

Header image: Detail from Islington Back Garden by Susan Shipp (c.1960), Garden Museum Collection