The Evolution of a Science Pond

Every day in this cold, cold weather, the excavators and the big dump trucks are940 working away.  We have all watched with fascination as the new science pond takes shape to the north of the playing field.

The pond will be a great feature of our outdoor-based science program.  It will  be a  centerpiece for exploring water ecosystems, clean water advocacy, and STEM, and it will enhance all the natural resources of Parker’s 77 acre classroom.

It is being dug at the site of the former farm pond, and when pond 2photocompleted, the new science pond will be about a half-acre in size, with gently graduated sides and a depth of 8 feet in the center.  We’ll put some split-rail fencing with mesh at crucial spots around the perimeter and plan to add a deck and a pond shed for storing buckets and nets and all the other equipment needed for pond exploration.

The strategic idea for a science pond came about at forums and discussions with trustees, parents and teachers about how to maximize the natural science features at Parker.  The streams, woods, meadows and wetlands are all wonderful elements of discovery and analysis for our students, so creating our very own pond seemed to be the natural next step.  With the generous initial funding of a special donor and the guidance of the school’s Planet Parker Committee, coordinated by Jamie Crouse, we were able to get started this winter.

pond 3photoOne of the biggest questions for the Planet Parker Committee was “Where do we put the fill?”  Take a look at the east side of our parking lot and you will see the natural solution to our parking issues when we have big events: an expanded parking area!  The new parking area will remain grassy and be great for parking overflow.  It is hard to believe how much fill there is, and it seems to be a great solution to two problems!

The next phase of the project is watching the pond fill with water from the water IMG_9548table.  There will be mud, of course, but soon we will see the native plants filling in on the banks and our meadow will seed itself again.  Students have been charting the man-made changes to the site and now they will have the opportunity to see how the land restores itself and what wildlife and plants make their new home at the Parker pond !

~  Meg Taylor, Head