by KATE MESSNER
As parent and child launch a canoe from the muddy shore and paddle through water lilies, they see frogs jump and painted turtles slide off logs, disappearing beneath the murky water. What’s happening down there? Under the pond, leeches lurk, crayfish scuttle under rocks, nymphs build intricate shells, and microscopic animals break down fallen leaves to recharge the water with nutrients. Over the pond, fuzzy cattails sway in the breeze, and a pair of loons swim by, laughing in the dappled sunlight.