Ponding encourages an understanding of the relationship between plants and animals in a freshwater ecosystem. Pondlife may be observed and monitored over each season.
We went summer ponding and the experience was amazing. There wasn’t much happening on the surface of the water, but we were excited to see pondlife in the algae-covered rocks, pond scum, mud, and the water we collected into a container.
Once the water had settled overnight, we noticed tiny creatures coming out of the rock crevices to swim in the water.
We took note of the birdlife on and near the pond. We saw Pelicans, Mallard Ducks, Water Wrens, Seagulls, Ibises, and an Egret. We observed and noted the plants and trees growing around the pond too.
We found Common Rush, Water Couch, Tussock Sedge, Common Reed, and Cumbungi.
Summer Ponding Study
Indoor Prep Work
- Australian Guide to Pondlife by Gould League.
- Watch pond skaters for kids.
- Optional: Watch Minibeast Adventure with Jess (16:37).
- Sing along to some ponding songs.
Visit a pond, lake, or river to investigate and observe the ecosystem of pondlife. What creatures can you see on the water? What creatures are inside the water? What insects, animals, and birds visit the lake? What kind of trees and plants are growing around and near the lake? Do you see any water plants? Can you find evidence of other creatures you’ve not seen such as mussel or snail shells?
Once you’ve observed pondlife, decide on a subject you’d like to research and learn more about. Sketch it in your field guide and write your observations. Include a list of other creatures that visit the pond. Also, write a bird and plant list for your pond. You’ll want to compare your notes to see how the pond ecosystem changes and develops over the seasons.
- Collect algae-covered rocks, pond mud, and water in a container. Allow it to settle overnight and watch for tiny creatures. Observe the water through a microscope. Journal your discoveries.
- Search for tracks in the mud.
- Use the Summer Ponding Notebook Page to note your observations.
- Download our Ponding Task Cards for more activities.
- Go fishing!
What interesting things have you found on your ponding adventures?
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Dig deeper with the Australian Nature Study Guide | Volume 1 | Summer/Autumn.