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B-V Students Explore Pond Life

Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School does not have a pond right outside, but you may have thought otherwise if you stepped into Jennifer Maldonado’s kindergarten classroom on Friday.

Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES Assistant Naturalist Sean Mormino brought the sights and sounds of a pond right into the classroom, and students learned about the many creatures who typically visit ponds or make them their home.

Mormino first discussed the idea of a life cycle with the class, using frogs and dragonflies, two pond residents, as examples. Both creatures have unique life cycles, with tadpoles developing into frogs and dragonfly nymphs shedding their skin and emerging as adults. “Every life cycle is different because every animal is different,” he explained.

Students learned that activity at the pond doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. “Close your eyes and listen,” said Mormino, as he played the sounds of a pond at night for the students. When asked what sorts of critters they thought lived in and around a pond at night, responses ranged from owls and bats to coyotes and “wild hamsters.”

Mormino then told the students he had brought actual pond visitors for them to meet, including a barred owl who is a permanent resident at BOCES’ Center for Environmental Education. He also brought two turtles, one full grown and one a baby, and on the floor he spread out pelts from animals such as skunks, raccoons, coyotes and possums, all commonly found near ponds. Jars of pond water, containing a variety of pond life, were also placed on tables with magnifying glasses for closer examination.

Pond Study at B-V with BOCES naturalist