New dock at county park a gift from I/N Tek I/N Kote

School children from Bremen Elementary School sprawled on their belly and dipped strainers into the pond at Bendix Woods County Park this month, the first group to use a newly-installed platform designed to accommodate aquatic studies at the park.

Dragonfly nymphs, tadpoles and scuds squirmed in the mucky debris and were transferred to basins of clear water where the students could observe them more closely.

“Pond studies like these enable students to get a sense of the complexities of these ecosystems,” said Interpretive Services manager for the St. Joseph County Parks, Leslie Witkowski, who helped plan the dock layout.

The platform was made possible by a grant from I/N Tek I/N Kote that covered the cost of the materials.

The County Parks construction team designed the platform in conjunction with the park interpreters who lead nature programs at the various county parks.

Assembly and installation was completed by park staff this summer.

“By looking at the diversity of macroinvertebrates, children can assess the health of the pond. This platform allows for a safe way to engage the kids in active exploration,” said Witkowski.

When it’s not being used by school groups the platform makes an ideal place for park visitors to watch for frogs and observe the native plant life along the edge of the pond.

Cardinal flower, boneset and blue lobelia are among the native plants that rim the pond, thanks to a previous grant from I/N Tek I/N Kote.

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