Ponds 4 Kids!
Jefferson Landscape and Design is looking for teachers and school administrators to team up with to help implement our Ponds 4 Kids! program.
Adding an ecosystem pond to your children's learning environment is a great way to help students from kindergarten through grade 12 learn about nature and ecology. To help facilitate this endeavor, we have developed a Planning Guide to take you from the initial steps of preparation to the day of installation; a Pond Activity Guide with a variety of activities that you can use “as is” or tailor to meet the needs of your students; and we are working on a Resource List to help raise funds from local businesses to get involved and help Jefferson Landscape and Design provide what is needed.
Jefferson Landscape and Design is willing to donate our labor to perform the installation, assist with the educational process, answer questions, and help out as much as we can!
Ecosystems are the biological organism communities that rely upon one another for continued life. Pond ecosystems can be an intriguing, mystical thrill to a child. When guided carefully by parents or teachers who are informed about the delicate environment, and the inter-dependency of life forms, they’re educational as well. If you have a pond near your home or school, take your children down to the pond's edge to explore. Discuss the importance of the sun to plant life, the bacteria or algae that grow naturally, and how air quality and temperature affect what kinds of plants and animals grow and thrive in the area. Each pond's specific ecosystem takes all of these into account.
Trails near ponds, bridges and piers can offer lookout stations to hunt for all kinds of critters. Ask the children to point out and list the types and colors of water bugs, dragonflies, ladybugs, beetles, spiders and other insects. The kids may find them directly on the water or on plants nearby. Point out cattails, lilies, water irises and any wild plants that may be floating in areas. They all provide shelter, food sources and security to various bugs and other creatures. You might see tiny fish and tadpoles, or hear toads and frogs, which are especially exciting for children to discover hopping around. Talk about the life cycles as observers so as not to disrupt any habitats.
Numerous birds also make homes and nests around ponds. In winter, try to find higher nests in deciduous trees when leaves have fallen. In spring, ducklings appear with their mothers, sneaking out from reeds or darting behind them when frightened. Teach your children not to poke sticks or cause harm, but to respect nesting areas for ducks, herons, egrets and other birds. The presence of birds helps to contribute to the ecosystem’s balance. Discuss how birds help keep down mosquito populations (in still ponds – NOT something we have to worry about with the ecosystems Jefferson Landscape and Design install, because the surface water on our ponds is constantly moving), or how their food comes from plants nearby.
A pair of binoculars is a good item to carry along. Raccoons, deer, and other wildlife visit ponds for water or for resting places and food sources, too. Bird and wildlife waste contributes to reseeding and nourishment of plants. Find tracks in mud and identify them. Take along cameras and sketch pads for children to record moments and sightings, but leave the area as undisturbed as possible. Talk to children about how humans rely on clear water, but so do animals and plants.
If you are a teacher, school administrator or a parent who thinks their child’s school might be interested in our Ponds 4 Kids! program, email us for additional information at: firstname.lastname@example.org.