Look for an animal in water
Splashing about in shallow water is a wonderful way to cool down in the summer. You can also find many interesting animals that live in the water. Fish, turtles, and frogs can be hard to catch, but there are plenty of small creatures that can be found with a small net and white plastic container (like a dish pan). You can use a net made for the water, or make your own using fine mesh, like women’s hosiery. When you first arrive at water’s edge, look for animals you can see without disturbing the water. There may be fish or other animals big enough to see in the water; there may be frogs on lily pads, or submerged with only their eyes and nostrils sticking out above the water. Maybe, if you are quiet, you may see turtles sunning themselves on a log that is floating in the water! When you are sure you have seen the big creatures, use your net near vegetation and close to the bottom to see how many different kinds of animals you can find. You may find crustaceans, adult insects, juvenile insects (nymphs and larva), mollusks, worms, and even other kinds of animals! If you have an insect or pond guide, try to identify the creatures you find. Be sure to return them to the water as soon as possible, because the summer sun soon heats the water, which depletes their oxygen supply.
Internet links to help you:
“Wonderful Wacky Water Critters is a wonderful publication of the University of Wisconsin-Extension in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. It has great information on things that live in the water and how to identify them. It is available at: http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/pdf/wwwc.pdf
Hoosier Riverwatch has a very complete manual to help people age 18 and older learn how to become citizen scientists and record water quality data to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Check out their manual at: www.in.gov/idem/riverwatch/files/volunteer_monitoring_manual.pdf
Dragonfly by Ina Felix (ISBN 9781532717307). A children’s book of fun facts and amazing photos. Best for ages 3 – 7 years.
The Life Cycle of a Crayfish by Bobbie Kalman and Rebecca Sjonger (ISBN 978 -0- 7787 – 0703 – 5) Written for ages 6 – 12. Includes information on different species, reproduction, life stges, and how they find food.