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Diatoms on Wild Wednesday

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01 July, 2013

Sarah Spaulding

The mission of Friends of Lakeside Lab is to create healthy, respectful and life long relationships between children and the natural world by nurturing their inborn curiosity about nature through outdoor activities designed to stimulate their intellectual, physical and emotional development. Summer camps and programs stress the importance of observation, questioning, and exploring the connections between animals, plants, people and ecosystems.

Jane Shuttleworth, Educational Coordinator, and Amber O’Harrow, Lakeside Artist in Residence, hosted the Wild Wednesday event, Fen, Flark, Lake and Marsh! The program was a celebration of aquatic diversity, featuring an investigation of diatom diversity through art.

Diatoms are not just for adults to study at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory but an annual subject venue for learners of all ages during Wild Wednesdays, Lakeside’s weekly family summer science programs. This year’s diatom study took a special twist when art met science met diatoms, thanks to Amber. Amber teamed with Lakeside staff and students to transform diatoms from invisible organisms to ‘hands on’. Literally. Participants – including children, parents and grandparents – peered through microscopes as they learned about diatom diversity, their various habitat affinities and biological superpowers. Then, with Amber’s guidance, everyone had the opportunity create their own 10,000 times life size diatom to take home. And cuddle up with.