Vol. 1 Num. 3
A Publication of the Project World Class
April 1999 
The Indoor Wetland
by Jessie

     Believe it or not, you don't have to go outside to visit the Sanborn Wetland. Here in the Project World room we have our own indoor wetland housed in a fish tank. This "wetland" was created by Mr. Gaudet one fall day after a recent rain filled the wetland with water. The surface is covered with an oily material that is also found on the water outdoors. The water below is dark and murky. But underneath the lights the water is teeming with miniature life. You can watch all sorts of creatures swim and scuttle across the banks. 

     I explored this miniature indoor wetland with intern Kelly Corbelle. We were hunting for caddis fly larvae. We didn't find any, but we did find bright orange water mites, pill bugs, worms, snails, spiders, and almost microscopic little insects swimming near the surface.  Other creatures were mired in the mud and crawling through underground tunnels. 

     Several students have studied the microscopic bacteria living in the wetland. Becky Thayer, a senior in Project World, spent time studying life in the indoor wetland as one of her projects. She set up a microscope and made slides of the bacteria she found there. She learned to identify many of these species with help from intern Vinny Johnson. For her presentation she used the microscope, computer, and television to take videos of the bacteria she found. Students in Project World often stopped what they were working on to watch curious creatures crawl across the television screen. So, on a rainy day stop by the computer lab to check out the scene. Don't let the appearance of the tank scare you. It might be a little broken down and cruddy, but there is a world of life hidden in the apparent darkness and grime. You might be surprised to find a mini ecosystem squeezed in between the Macs.