It comes as no surprise that in a place named “Lake County” you are never more than a stone’s throw away from water. Lake County, Illinois is scattered with thousands of acres of wetlands, dotted with over 170 lakes and rivers, crisscrossed with 400 miles of streams, and bordered by massive Lake Michigan. This year at the Lake County Forest Preserves, we are celebrating this wealth of water by exploring how Water Connects Lake County through educational programs and recreational opportunities.
One way water connects the critters of Lake County is through the magic of metamorphosis. Ponds, streams and other wetlands host and hide well-known animals in surprising forms. Take a look at the picture below. This is a type of insect found in most local bodies of water. Can you identify this creature?
I’ve spent the past few weeks scooping nets into the pond at Captain Daniel Wright Woods with 4th – 7th grade students, studying what is lurking along the mucky bottom during a Pond Study program. Before the group spreads out along the shoreline, I show the students examples of animals that make their home in the pond. By far, the item that elicits the biggest reaction is a snapping turtle shell that is the size of a dinner plate. Hands shoot up in the air, and everyone has a story about an encounter with this hulking reptile—from witnessing a female digging a nest in a backyard garden to being stopped in a traffic jam caused by a turtle crossing the road. Continue reading →