So many people (and kids) think that in ponds and lakes you might have some fish, frogs, maybe a few slimy critters like snails and crayfish. Between them? Water, just water. Or maybe they just don’t think about it, but would realize that there’s got to be smaller stuff in there too, for the big stuff to eat. Today was about teaching the kids that there’s so much more living in there than just that, and you can see some of it if you just try.
When I was a kid, sometimes Dad would bring home a microscope from his school. We’d head off into the woods, on skis in the early spring, break the ice over a pond and fetch some cold water. In the warmth of the kitchen, hot chocolate in tummies, we’d peer through the lenses to see a whole new world. One filled with the pseudopods of amoebas, waving tentacles of hydras, zipping of paramecia. Can’t forget the various forms of algae, the rotifers, and all that too.
Now, I’ve got microscopes at work. Let me TELL you I have microscopes at work. But most of them are in level II facilities. The rest are both insanely heavy and insanely expensive. The newest one of mindblowing coolness costs roughly the same as a house in our neighbourhood.
This means that no microscopes are coming home with me, and the kids didn’t get to see all of those cool critters.
But that doesn’t mean they didn’t see cool stuff that they had no clue lived in pond water in the first place. There are a zillion kinds of tiny flat worms and crustaceans both that you can see quite well with magnifying glasses. Also, egg clusters (who knows what of, maybe frogs?), tiny fish, roots of the plants in the muck, that sort of thing.
And it opened the door to the kids considering that there may be much more that they still can’t see, even with the magnifying glasses.
So now, hopefully, when they see a lake they’ll think of all the zillions of tiny critters that live in there, and maybe even the food chain.
Ohcrap. I hope we can still get them to swim in the lake this summer.