Fantastic minibeasts and where to find them: New video teaches young people the joys of pond dipping

The Easter break is just around the corner and, thanks to the promise of warm weather, it looks like many will be able to enjoy festivities outside.

Professor Paul Wood hopes to inspire the whole family to head out and engage with nature this spring with his new video on pond dipping and identifying freshwater invertebrates.

Pond dipping is a simple, fun, and educational activity that involves using a net to catch and identify different freshwater creatures living in a pond or body of water.

The video, titled 'Fantastic Minibeasts and Where to Find Them', is available on YouTube and features Professor Wood demonstrating how to carry out a successful pond dipping expedition.

In the video, he explains what equipment is needed, how to catch and handle freshwater creatures safely, and how to identify different invertebrates.

Professor Wood has also created two free-to-download resources: a key that allows for the easy identification of invertebrates and a tick sheet so youngsters can keep track of the minibeasts they have spotted.

Images of the two resources created by Prof Paul Wood

Professor Wood, who studies the interactions between water and ecological systems, said: “Freshwater ecosystems are incredibly diverse and fascinating, but they're also under threat from pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

"By getting young people interested in freshwater science and pond dipping, we can help to raise awareness of these important issues and inspire the next generation of scientists and conservationists."

To watch the 'Fantastic Minibeasts and Where to Find Them' video, visit the University's YouTube channel.

The freshwater invertebrate identification key and tick sheet can be downloaded below:‌

It is important to consider safety issues - such as supervising children at all times, not entering the water if it is above shin height and cleaning equipment to avoid cross-contamination of water bodies - before pond dipping. A comprehensive list of safety considerations can be found on the RoSPA website.