A great place to collect and study pond plants is Weeks Pond, behind In an earlier article,
Walk onto the boat dock and sweep your jar against a submerged post with green scum on the side of it. This scum is a green filamentous algae. Some of the posts also have pond plants called hornwort or coontail around them.
These thin-stemmed plants have whorls or green needle-like leaves along their length. The algae and the coontail both attract a variety of tiny pond creatures that form an important part of the food chain.
After you’ve swept the plants into the jar, put on a tight-fitting lid. Allow the water to settle then view the creatures inside with a magnifying lens or a microscope.
If you use a microscope, don’t set the magnification nay higher than 100X. Better yet, use a plug-in TV microscope like the “Bionic Eye.” Place a drop of water with your specimen into a petri dish and cover the dish with your hand, a sheet of white paper or with aluminum foil for maximum illumination.
Refer to a pond life book to identify the creatures. You can get close-up photos; illustrations and more information about pond creatures and plants on a number of Internet sites.
Editor’s note: Eric Nelson in an amateur scientist and naturalist from Cheshire.