Students learn about ecosystems after koi pond is restored

After years of gathering mud and muck, the koi pond on the Lower School campus is a learning tool once again.

Science lab teacher Elizabeth Maloan led the charge to clean it up and restore it last fall. A crew from Carter’s Nursery, Pond, and Patio drained the pond and spent the better part of a week removing four to five inches of sludge and overgrown vegetation.

“You could hardly even see the water,” Maloan said.

Now that the pond has been restored, fourth-grade students in Maloan’s science lab use it to study ecosystems, including vertebrate and invertebrate microscopic life.

Second graders study amphibians, and other classes visit the pond regularly for reading sessions or picnics and look at the fish. The pond is teeming with frogs, tadpoles, and dragonfly nymphs. “There are all kinds of things they can observe,” she said.

When the pond was drained, Maloan rescued about 20 goldfish and put them in an aquarium in her classroom. Students helped her return the goldfish to the restored pond, and Maloan said their numbers have tripled.

Maloan also took students on a field trip in May to Carter’s where they collected four koi for the pond. USJ parents Jennifer and David Steele donated two more koi.

Today, the pond is a great place to observe nature or relax and listen to running water on a sunny afternoon. All students on the Lower School campus can benefit.

“It’s really been a plus to get it back up and going again,” Maloan said. “Everybody gets to enjoy it.”