Biology Pond becomes Oriental garden

Parker Willis

After some changes at the Biology Pond last week, students were worried about the future of their workplace.

A few trees were cut down at the Biology Pond along with the addition of a gravel walkway. This brought up some questions concerning the plans for the pond.

Bob Harrington, director of the Physical Plant, said the trees removed were already dead or dying. He even brought in a conservationist to observe the removal of the trees to make sure nothing was disturbed more than it had to be.

Harrington said the transformation of the pond into an Oriental garden started almost 10 years ago with the addition of the bridge and will be an ongoing project for the next four to five years.

The main concern for the pond was whether or not the biology students will still be able to use the pond after all the changes have been made. Another question was if there will be any major damage to the ecosystem that is already present.

“I don’t want to see anything done to damage the pond,” said Robert Heth, assistant professor of biology. “I’m down there every week. And every biology student has probably been down there for two classes if not more.”

He also said both of his zoology classes have a project there each semester. Heth was concerned for the future of the pond.

“At this point we don’t plan on digging up the pond,” Harrington said. “But, if we have to change the environment too much, we can clean out the area behind the bridge for the students. There’s no reason why it can’t all be worked out so it will work for everybody.”

Other concerns were if there would be any species brought in not native to this area, which would cause a definite change in the ecosystem.

Harrington said all of the plants brought in would be native to the area. And as for the koi being added, it is still not certain.

While some people in the biology department believe the koi will have a population boom once introduced, Heth said he thinks the turtles and herrings will eat them until they are gone.

Overall, Harrington said he doesn’t think the changes to the pond will have a major effect on the ecosystem because all of the plants will be native to the area and there are no certain plans to dig up the pond.

What Harrington does plan to do is add a Japanese lantern, a small island in the middle, reinforce the sides of the pond and add several trees around the area. Also in the plans are a fence and a few gates.

Harrington said these things will be necessary after the project is finished to keep out high school students who use Missouri Southern’s soccer fields.

“We just want to make a quiet place to meditate on campus,” Harrington said.