R-S Middle School awarded DNR grant for pond renovation
—by Todd Thorson
For over 15 years the Roland-Story Middle School in Roland has had a pond in its courtyard for students, staff and visitors to enjoy. Through the years the pond has become overgrown with bushes and plants, and has slowly filled in with mud. Leaks have also caused the pond to lose over 25 gallons of water per day. Associate teacher Patty Ruben, who works in the special education classroom, happened to take a class through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and was able to apply for a grant to renovate and restore the aquatic amenity at the school.
The DNR eventually approved a grant for $700, and the special education students started researching pond plants, animals and various building materials necessary to restore the pond. The goldfish that were still in the pond were caught and moved to a tank for safe keeping during the renovation. Country Landscapes in Ames also became involved with the project, and offered to supply all the materials at cost. Country Landscapes also volunteered their technical advice.
“Without the Ames company’s support, the cost of the pond liner would have been impossible to cover with the grant money, plus some extra money from the school district,” said special education instructor Jill Wright.
With not only Country Landscapes’ help, other local volunteers joined in to lend a hand.
“Since the physical labor would have been too difficult for the students, the Roland Kiwanis Club (also) stepped up to supply all of the labor to take out overgrown bushes, pond plants and dig out the two feet of mud that had eroded and filled in the pond,” explained Wright.
With the assistance of the Kiwanis members, Principal John Sheahan and other local volunteers, a long and busy day was spent on Saturday, Oct. 19 to prepare the pond for the new liner.
“Without the help of the Roland Kiwanis and the kindness of Country Landscapes with (their) financial support, this project would have been impossible,” Wright concluded.
The new liner was scheduled to be installed by the first of November, and the students will hopefully be able to move the goldfish back into their new and improved home before winter sets in.