First Meeting With Mr. Davis



Mr. Alan Davis is the Supervisor for the city parks in Pullman. In December of 1995, our class had our first meeting with Mr. Davis. The class told him about our water habitat study. The class had noticed many changes in the pond habitat and asked him questions about the changes.



When he came to our classroom the class showed him:

1. A videotape we made about a trip to the ponds

2. Our Sunnyside Pond Photo Journals from 1993 to 1995

3. Individual classmates writing journals about the ponds

4. Email messages we had sent and received about water habitats and the classroom globes we use to locate the places where they send and receive email

5. Our Water Habitat Quilt made with children from Kimball Elementary in Seattle and from Escuela de la Costa in Puerto Madryn, Argentina

6.Our artwork and sketches of the Sunnyside Park Ponds


Here are the questions the class asked Mr. Davis and the answers he gave which helped the class understand the pond habitat.

1. There used to be black swans at the pond. Why are the black swans gone?

"The city of Pullman bought the male and female black swans for Sunnyside Pond. The female was attcked and killed by something like a mink. Black swans mate for life. When the female died, the make died too...maybe from a "broken heart". The city isn't going to replace the swans yet because people were throwing things at them, hitting golf balls at them, and throwing frisbees at them. Also swans can be very agressive to people."


2. Why is the water changing colors from olive brown to turquoise?

"The city puts dye in it so the algae plants won't grow and take over the whole pond. We put dye in at springtime and soemtimes in the summer. In the fall, the dye is gone. the dye doesn't harm the ducks or fish."


3. Why is the island getting smaller?

"The muskrats dig into it and makes holes and burrows. We try to catch themuskrats and take them to other places so they won't be at the pond anymore but they keep coming. We might have to take down the island and build a new one. To do this, we would have to drain all the water."


4. There used to be lots of Canada geese at the ponds. Where are they?

"Since the swans died, the Canada Geese don't stay at the pond as much as they did before. The Canada Geese are wild and used to stop at the pond. When the swans were there, the mallard ducks, Canada geese, and swans all got along together okay. But with the swans gone, it doesn't balance out right and the geese seem to not stay as long as they did before."


5. Why are there not as many mallard ducks?

Because the swans are gone, not many mallard ducks come either. The ducks and geese migrate to Pullman's Sunnyside Park ponds but they don't stay there as much without the swans there."


6. We see more farm ducks from the farm by the park coming to the ponds now. Why are they starting to use the ponds?

They come because the large numbers of wild ducks and geese left and it means it is more safe for them to be there."


7, Why were the farm ducks coming up to us and then going away?

"They probably were hoping you had food for them and when you didn't, they went back into the water."


8.There is no water in the small cement pool above the waterfall and no water in the waterfall. Where's the waterfall water and pool water?

"We turn off the water pump that pumps water from the small pond to the pool above the waterfall because the pipes will break when it freezes in winter. If we turn off the water so it doesn't tumble down the waterfall, the big pond will freeze and we can go ice skating. When we trun off the pump, the stream gets dry to because the big pond isn't so full."

9. Where do the muskrats go in winter?

"In winter, they burrow and they don't come out as much but they are probably still there."

Mr. Davis then asked us if we had recently seen a moose at the ponds and we said, "No". He told us that five years ago, people reported seeing a moose on Kamiak Butte near Pullman and recently people saw one at the ponds. He said moose travel in wide circles and their circle is getting bigger. The baby moose follows where the mother moose goes and when it grows up, it keeps going in those same circles. He thought maybe the moose that people recently saw at the ponds was a baby five years ago and that now it was going in a wider circle.

Mr. Davis thanked us for doing the water habitat study at the ponds and encouraged us to keep watching the wildlife and the island. He suggested we meet again and think together about what we could do to help with the care of the ponds. He hoped we could work together to restore the island.

In the Spring of 1996, we did a live internet video workshop for the YouthCaN Earth Day Conference at the New York City Museum of Natural History. I*EARN helps with the conference and asked us to share our water habitat study. Children and youth from around the New York City area come to the museum for the conference. We used the computers at the College of Education at Washington State University in Pullman to make the live internet video connection. We prepared a presentation to tell them about how the wildlife at the ponds has changed and our concern that because the island is shrinking it doesn't have enough space for nesting water birds like the mallards. After we finsihed our presentation, the students in the auditorium at the museum suggested we get a lot more people to care about the island and then maybe we could get it restored.

During the 1997-98 school year, we talked again with Mr. Davis about the problem of the island shrinking and the number of mallards getting smaller and smaller. He suggested that our class plan a presentation for the City of Pullman Parks and Recreation Committee about our pond study and ask for their help in restoring the island. To learn about our presentation click on "Presentation to City of Pullman".



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INDEX of Water Habitat Web Pages

First Pond Page/A Look At Photo Journals/Writing About Water Habitats/Water Habitat Quilt/First Meeting With Mr.Alan Davis/Response to Pond Floods/Observation of the Great Blue Heron/Presentation to City of Pullman/Pond Birds/Pond Trees and Shrubs/Water Habitat I*EARN Conference Keynote Address/Photo Journal August 1999/Second Meeting With Mr.Alan Davis and Mr. Fetter/Research on Plantings for New Island/Planting Grass Seeds Photo Journal October 1999/Studying Pond Macroinvertebrates/Return to Classroom Index