One way to explore water life is to create a pond dip net and catch living organisms for observation. Don't forget to return the animals back to the pond when you're done.
What You'll Need:
- Stiff wire coat hanger
- Heavy wood staples (the kind that are hammered in)
- Tape measure
- Waterproof tape
- Safe scissors
- Cheesecloth or wide-mesh nylon net
- Needle and thread
- Tall rubber boots
- Large metal pan (such as an aluminum roasting pan)
How to Make a Pond Dip Net:
Step 1: To make a dip net, bend a stiff wire coat hanger in the shape of a D, leaving the hook in the middle of the straight part of the D. Straighten the hook and use heavy wood staples to fasten the straightened hook to the end of a broomstick.
Step 2: Fold the wire back over the last staple. Wrap the end in waterproof tape.
Step 3: Measure the distance around the wire frame. Cut some cheesecloth that width and 18 inches long.
Step 4: Sew the ends together into a tube. Stitch one end of the tube shut. Sew the open end of the tube to the frame by turning the edge over the frame then stitching the fabric to itself.
Step 5: To use your dip net, put on rubber boots and wade into a pond (with an adult along). Be careful not to wade in water deeper than your boots.
Step 6: Hold the net in the water with the handle upright and the net resting on the pond bottom. Have a bucket with a little water in it ready
in the other hand.
Step 7: Move slowly through the water and gently move the net up and down. Stop now and then and dump the contents of your net into the bucket. After you've done several nettings, come ashore and dump the bucket into a wide pan. Add a little water so your animals can swim.
Step 8: When you are done, return the animals to the pond. Some pond animals (such as native turtles) are endangered because of over-collection.
Put on your thinking caps -- continue on the next page to learn all about the earth's oceans and rivers.