Earlier this spring, all of your Discover the Power of Parks interpreters were introduced (or re-introduced) to an activity that would become the ‘bread-and-butter’ program of some of our summers. We were handed nets that smelled vaguely of pond water, three white plastic bins, and a dicotomous key with some strange and slightly frightening creatures on it. We were instructed to catch and identify these creatures along the shores of Spruce Pond in Bear Brook State Park. The things that we caught that day were all new to me. We spent time figuring out what each exciting new catch was and learning as much about them as we could. Little did I know, Ponding would supply BBSP’s visitors and me with a summer full of new discoveries and curious catches.
At least once a week for the past summer, a few of us have been exploring the waters of New Hampshire with you all. This activity has gone by many names. In Bear Brook I call my ponding program “Caught on Pond’s Edge”. Other names include “Marsh Marvels” and “Creatures of the Shallows”. Ponding net have exchanged hands. Bins filled with at variety of inhabitants, some that escaped on their own others waited patiently for their eventual release. Each time I shake the dried out sand off the nets and awkwardly carry them down to Beaver Pond, I wonder what the next few hours will bring. Here are some of my favorite catches of the summer.
I hope that you’ve had the chance to join us at some point to see a different side of the bodies of water that we all know and love! If not, you can still swing by Pawtuckaway or Bear Brook on a Saturday during the fall or join next years interpreters next summer to get your ponding adventure in!
By Claire Delbecq, Interpretive Ranger at Bear Brook State Park