Turning Pond Management into a Student Project

Posted: March 12, 2014

Pond management can be challenging. One way to handle the challenges is to turn it into a school project!
Students measure pond depth and surface area using canoes.

Students measure pond depth and surface area using canoes.

Managing a large field pond can be a challenging task. Sometimes the best option is to think of unique, innovative ways to approach the management task. Mr. Matthew Kokoszka (Mr. K), a faculty member at the Kiski School contacted Dana Rizzo, water resources educator, to help create one of those innovative approaches. The Kiskiminetas Springs School, better known as the Kiski School, in Saltsburg, PA has a pond on the school property that has been somewhat neglected for many years. It has an overabundance of a non-native, invasive plant, Brazilian elodea, some filamentous algae and the overflow is too small which leads to flooding of the adjacent lawn, allowing water to flow uncomfortably close to a residence hall. Overall the pond is an eyesore on an otherwise beautiful campus and unusable for the activities that they have deemed suitable for the pond.

Dana and Tim Wood, a local pond consultant that graciously assists on Penn State Extension Pond and Lake Management workshops met with Mr. K with the goal of providing him input on all of the options for the pond, regardless of cost.

Established in 1888, the Kiski School is one of the oldest all-boys college preparatory boarding schools in the United States. Mr. K was interested in making the pond beautiful and useful again but more importantly utilize the process to teach his students about pond management, look at the financial requirements of such an undertaking, plan creation, proposal writing and actual implementation of the plan.

Tim and Dana made a presentation to Mr. K and the students on March 3rd. Their presentation provided guidance on the variety of management considerations including aquatic plant management, fisheries management and overall needs of the pond. Tim also provided numerous options for physical repair and management options with their associated costs. During a great, interactive discussion, the students came up with goals for their pond including fishing, ice skating, boating, classroom instruction, and aesthetics. Creating these goals and utilizing the information provided to them helped them create a plan and a proposal for the administration. Once they receive approval they will move forward with implementing their plans. Participating in this project has helped the students feel ownership over transforming an eyesore into a beautiful, useful water resource where they live and attend classes throughout the year.