Ponding is the investigation of ponds to gain an understanding of it’s ecology. The plants, animals and water is observed and monitored over a season. We recently 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 pond life in the algae covered rocks, pond scum, mud and water we collected in a container. Once it had settled overnight we could see the tiny creatures and observe them.
We took note of the bird life on and near the pond. We saw Pelicans, Mallard Ducks, Water Wrens, Seaguls, Ibis 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.
Indoor Prep Work
- Read Ponding by Wihelmina Wallis and Chris Smyth.
- Australian Guide to Pondlife by Gould League.
- Nature Anatomy: Pond Ecosystem.
Visit a pond, lake or river with the intention to observe the ecosystem of pond life. 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 grow 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 pond life 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 which visit the pond. Also write a bird and plant list for your pond. You’ll want to compare your notes through the seasons to see how pond life changes.
- I highly recommend Ponding by Wihelmina Wallis as the book is full of ponding activities which will keep you busy for a while.
- 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.
- Use the Summer Ponding Notebook Page to note your observations.
What interesting things have you found on your ponding adventures?