“Why would someone leave their trash here?” my 7-year-old asked when we arrived, pointing to a plastic container in the water. We fished it out but decided quickly that the litter had a higher purpose: It was a tool for parent and child explorers.
My son was the designated scooper, repeatedly gathering cupfuls of water. Those that included aquatic critters left him gleeful. The tadpoles eluded us (too swift!), but we enjoyed close-up views of water striders and other wee creatures in our hour spent observing. One so fascinated us that we took it home to ID it: a damselfly nymph, according to the books and websites we referenced.
After returning the nymph to the stream to complete the aquatic portion of its life cycle, we paused to admire the adult damselflies and dragonflies as they perched and flew by, and we talked about the differences between ...