Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Mighty Microbes

        The old adage "Out of sight. Out of mind." could be aptly applied to mighty microbes. We can't see microbes with the naked eye so we go about our business as if they weren't there. This causes us to live our lives and make decisions which do not favor microbes. It's easy to argue for the protection of species which are noticeable and if they have spectacular features it's easier yet. To protect and conserve one species everything has to be considered. That one species fits into an eco system and that's the best way to protect the one species. An eco system is made up of interconnecting parts. Each species supports the other in some way even if it happens to be prey for another species.

       I taught junior high science for awhile. In one unit we had the kids bring a small sample of pond water. We showed the kids how to make a slide and use a microscope. When they looked at their water sample, there in front of their eyes were microbes. Now with a school microscope you don't see much, but they did find out about microbes and saw them move, their shape and color. They kept bringing more water samples as they were intrigued by what they saw.

      Microbes are common everywhere and have important roles to play. It was surprising for me to find out microbes are in snow and ice. Microbes on snow and ice you say? Yes. There are also insects on snow at certain times. Ever see snow fleas? I would like to see decisions on environmental issues start with microbes. We have water use issues. Various parts of society are competing for an ever decreasing amount of water. Decision makers only consider the water and not the life which is sustained by the water.

     I wish more people would become acquainted with microbes on a realistic basis. Then maybe decisions made about natural habitat might be made easier and more species would have a better chance of long term survival.


  1. Very interesting, Red. You seem to have had a varied career. Microbes are definitely everywhere, but our eyes were designed to pick up macro pictures. That's why we invented that microscope. Smart to show kids what their eyes cannot see. BTW, Happy Valentine's Day to you, Red! :-)

  2. You know "Variety is the spice of life." Yes I had variety. It's what kept me going. New challenges.
    I only turned down two assignments. 1. Industrial Arts 2. a gifted class. For industrial arts I would have been completely out of my element. I would rather teach modified classes to kids having difficulty.
    Happy Valentine's to you.

  3. I can tell by your posts that you must have been a wonderful teacher. It's true that we do not tend to think about what we can't see but that can often be a serious mistake. Thanks for the reminder about the mighty microbes.

  4. "Wonderful teacher" would be debatable. However, I did enjoy my time as a teacher and would love to do it all over again.
    It's always interesting to watch kids eyes as they learn. I will always remember the microbe lab and the excitement and how they had to look at each other's slides.