Online visitors can learn about fish, frogs and insects in a healthy pond ecosystem.

Outdoor exploration can take many forms, including a visit to the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center educational pond via the internet. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a pond life virtual program from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14. MDC is providing outdoor education programs on the internet as an adaption to COVID-19 healthy safety precautions. Some programs in the coming weeks will be for in-person, outdoor programs with staff and visitors following safety protocols. But, MDC said, the internet is another way people of all ages can learn about nature in an entertaining way.

Missouri is home to thousands of ponds that support abundant natural life. These ponds also provide great recreation opportunities for fishing, catching frogs in season and birding. Some people also enjoy watching a pond close to home change through the four seasons, from ice in mid-winter to abundant plant and animal life in mid-summer.

MDC staff will give online visitors a virtual tour of the pond at Burr Oak Woods, which is in Blue Springs. Naturalists will explain what lives in a pond and what role they play in the ecosystem. They will also discuss fun things to do, such as fishing or observing interesting aquatic life. Staff will also discuss how to tell if a pond is healthy, such as good water quality, a variety in depths, and abundant natural life.

To join the pond tour, pre-register with an active email address at: https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z8c. Registration must be made by July 9. On July 10, an email will be sent to participants with a link to join the program on July 14.