NORMALLY small children's enthusiasm for worms is a cause for concern among their parents and other adults.
But for one group of local entrepreneurs the under-5s' love of the wriggly creatures has led to a new business opportunity.
Forres Academy's Young Enterprise Group have started a business selling window boxes that, as well as incorporating the usual area for growing plants, features a small wormery. A small cardboard divider separates the two areas.
The seven pupils, all in fifth and sixth year, came up with the idea for the boxes as a way of getting children under five interested in cultivating their own vegetables.
Managing director Stefi Ouston (17), of High Street, Forres, said the wormery helps to keep the children interested before the plants have sprouted "They can always see something growing," she said.
The window boxes are two feet by one foot long and are made of plastic. Small windows are cut into the boxes so children can see what their worms are up to.
Miss Ouston said the challenge of starting their own business was what led the youngsters to get involved with the Young Enterprise scheme.
"We all saw it as good experience, you don't often get the chance to set up your own business," she said.
"It has been a lot of hard work and effort but we think we will get a profit out of the boxes." The boxes have already been praised by the Young Enterprise Highland and Moray board who awarded it "product with the best twist" at a recent 'Dragons Den' style event.
Forres is one of only two schools from Moray heading across to Inverness this Saturday to take part in a trades fair involving groups from across Moray and the Highlands.
"There is going to be a lot of competition there but if we can get it out there we're confident we can sell plenty," said Miss Ouston.
She added that the boxes to be sold in Inverness are still in the production stage but should be ready for the big day.
The group is supervised by business studies teacher Andrea Stevenson, who will also be heading to Inverness with them.
She commented that the pupils had given up a lot of their free time to take part in the programme.
"Pupils are taught enterprise in the curriculum but Young Enterprise also gives them the chance to try setting up a business for real," she said.
The from Forres, along with their counterparts from Milne's High School, will be at the fair outside Marks and Spencer's Eastgate shopping centre store on Saturday, December 12.