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Something Fishy in Ferndale: Coy Koi and Rescued Goldfish

waterworkTOP_whiteSomething Fishy in Ferndale:GT ad 06 Coy Koi and Rescued Goldfish

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 15, 2015)

It isn’t just puppies and kitties that get love in Ferndale, people care for the fishes too.

A rescue effort is under way to save a group of fish that have called the pond in the Ferndale High School courtyard home for the past few months.

About two weeks ago, parent volunteer Gretchen Abrams along with Vernon Siple, Paul Levendoski, and a crew of student helpers made their first attempt at retrieving the slippery scaly creatures.

There was originally over 100 goldfish and 4 koi put into the pond. Not only are the fish fun to ChamberAd_01watch, they served an important ecological function. The pond had become over-grown with duckweed. An aerator was added to the pond to keep the water flowing and give it needed oxygen, and the fish helped eat away the pervasive plant. Duckweed grows on the surface of water, blocking sunlight and air, but thanks to the improvements it is no longer a problem.

Parent organizations including the Ferndale Education Foundation raised money for the aerator. Volunteers also built a boardwalk of planks to make a path through the native plants that surround the pond.

Abrams, who is a former science teacher with a Masters in Environmental Education, hopes the area can blossom into an outdoor classroom of sorts. “We’re in an urban high school, in an urban area, and then you come out here, and there’s all this nature,” Abrams said. “Look UrbaneAd_04around at all the different plants, and the nature that is right here. We’re so lucky to have this and I hope the teachers take time to bring students out and make use of it.”

As far as the fish, the pond is too shallow for them to make it through the winter. While the grown-ups donned waders and used nets to catch the fish, students lugged bucks full of pond water up to an aquarium in a classroom. The owner of the Aquarium Shop in Royal Oak provided much needed supplies to make the aquarium, which was donated by a parent, functional for the fish.

Sadly, the koi did not want to be captured. “They actually jumped our net,” Abrams said. “We are adjusting our plan of attack and trying again.”

Three large goldfish did make into the rescuers’ nets. The fish had grown from about an inch to nearly 4 inches since the spring when they were first introduced to the pond. The fish are safe in the classroom, and will hopefully be joined by others as the rescue efforts continue.

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