Daily Star photo/CRAIG HAUPERT Carson Rachels, left, and Peyton Gordon, both of Niles, search for creatures in a pond at Fernwood Botanical Garden Wednesday morning. About 13 kids participated in the pond study program.

Archived Story

Pond skimming

Published 12:56am Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nisa Shier, of Niles, put a small kitchen strainer into the water and gently skimmed it along the surface of mud at the bottom of Fernwood’s South Vista pond.

When she pulled the strainer out of the water and looked inside, something was moving.

“I found a frog,” Shier announced to the group of about six children ages 6 to 10 and a few adults participating in the kids’ pond study Wednesday morning at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Reserve in Niles.

The frog was placed in a pan of shallow water along with other creatures the children found — a couple crayfish, a tadpole, a dragonfly nymph and a backswimmer.

When the kids were finished catching pond creatures, Fernwood volunteer Marie Smith quizzed them on what they found. Each creature was then returned to the pond.

Fernwood Naturalist Jill McDonald said the nature center has been offering the pond study program for at least six years.

It’s a great way, she said, for kids to have fun while learning about pond life.

“There are a lot of things that can be seen if you teach the kids to take a closer look,” McDonald said.

Typical finds during pond study include baby crayfish, baby bluegill, tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs and scud.

“In just in a half an hour out there, we might find a dozen little crayfish, so it is neat to see all of what we are finding out there and how much life there really is,” she said.

Visit fernwoodbotanical.org or call (269) 695-6491 for program information.

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