Ponds and wetlands are a wealth of diversity, but it’s challenging to observe what goes on beneath the surface of the water, or even know what lives there. Fortunately, there is a way to not only see what lives under the water, but to bring it home for long-term observation and study. Creating a wetland container is very simple and requires very few materials. Unlike a fish aquarium, no pumps or other special equipment is needed, and you may already have many of the materials on hand.
JAR: The first thing you’ll need is a container for your wetland. It can be a large jar or any type of glass container. The container needs to have a wide opening to get materials in and out and also for maintenance. It’s also better…
While bees and butterflies may catch our attention as they fly around our flowers, there is a great deal of activity far beneath them vastly unseen on the ground. Hidden below the plants in the leaf litter and soil is an entire overlooked kingdom of invertebrates. We sometimes encounter them when we pick up a rock or if we get low and poke around, but they live largely unseen. While I do recommend crawling around on the ground to investigate what’s living there, there is another way to find out what invertebrates are lurking around, and it’s easy to set up with materials you already have on hand.
CONTAINER: The first thing you’ll need is a container. Repurposed food containers like yogurt cups, jars or other cup-like things will work. It needs…
Searching for slime molds in the forest is a lot of fun, but what if you could bring slime molds to your desk and watch the fruiting bodies develop? Creating a moist chamber for slime molds, also known as Myxomycetes, is very easy and offers the potential to not only observe the development of slime molds, but to preserve the mature specimens as part of a collection. In addition it can be done year round when slime molds may not be present in the field.
PETRI DISH: You’ll need a large petri dish with a lid. Plastic dishes work best in case the slime mold grows onto the container, it can be cut apart to preserve the mature specimen. But any clear, shallow container with a lid or cover can work….
When we gaze at a pond we may notice the Red-winged Blackbirds in the cattails, or the frogs singing in the shallows, but how often do we consider what is living in the depths?
There is an entire world living beneath the surface of every pond but we don’t have to put on scuba gear to find out what’s going on down there. Pond dipping is an easy and really fun activity (not just for kids) that can be done all year round. Spring and summer will produce the most wildlife, but even in the cold months, invertebrates like dragonflies are still living down in the depths of the pond, even under a layer of ice.
Finding invertebrates in a pond is easy and you need very little to get started pond dipping.