top of page

More but Different Net Results

We initiated June 1 with another multigenerational crowd eager to learn about the

natural wonders of Pella’s Big Rock Park. Marion County Naturalist Marla Mertz and

Central biology professors Nicole Palenske Ladner and Kristin Siewert led us to Thunder

Creek for a different type of netting experience than last Saturday’s netting for bees.

This time the leaders demonstrated using the smaller and sturdier nets to troll the

bottom of the creek. This meant climbing down to the creek in various places to access

the water. Recent rains filled the creek to a moving stream and we delighted in seeing

everyone’s treasures that we poured into basins with creek water to hold the treasures.

Once we described them and the scientists explained their life histories, many

photographed the organisms before we released them back into the creek. These net

results included nymph damselflies, nymph dragonflies, a leech, a tadpole, a minnow,

and numerous water striders! One little girl who collected the majority of the water

striders, shouted out each discovery as she sprinted to the collection basin! Again, the

joy of the children enchanted us all.

Many never outgrow the joy of discovery, as Dr. Lander shows below and she displays a tadpole.

Marla mentioned the importance of water, the negative impact of drought the last

couple of years, and the life that follows the rains of this spring season. She also

mentioned the importance of insects as she describes in this link for her Marion County Environmental Education Blog.

Although we focused most of the foray at Thunder Creek, we did see a few other insects

in the woods such as the one in Marla’s photo of the gorgeous Ebony Jewel wing Damselfly ebony

jewelwing, black-winged damselfly - Calopteryx maculata

Our scientists, Marion County Naturalist Marla Mertz and Central Professors Kristin Siewert and

Nicole Palenske Ladner are shown below.

Thank you to Marion County Community Foundation, Pella Community Foundation,

and Friends of Big Rock Park for sponsoring the scientists and events.


bottom of page