We are in streams weekly between our urban and rural locations. We are very fortunate to have waterways that are open to our use and safe to cross. We will see little fish, once in a while something bigger, but recently were taught a really great way to illuminate our findings by local Nashville scientists. Want to see some pond bugs and critters? Grab a bucket, a screen, a white plastic tray and start for your waterway.
First, load your bucket about half full with the pond or stream water. Next, get out your screen. Swish back and forth in the pond or stream quickly and dump your catches into your bucket. Just empty you screen into the bucket. When you’ve done a few passes with your screen, you can start transferring from your bucket to your white plastic tray. Pull out any huge items from the bucket that will get in the way, like huge sticks or leaves and just put them back in the pond. Then slowly transfer your bug finds, little plant bits and whatever goodies to a WHITE plastic tray by pouring slowly from your bucket or using your screen. Include bugs AND plants. Now your kids can really see what lives in the pond without stirring up all of the mud from the bottom. Use wood chopsticks or dowels to slowly stir around in the tray and look for critters. When you are done, return them and try again.
My youngest could do this all day long.