Project Proposal: Pond Reconciliation

Project Title:  Reconcile the Pond

Project Participants:  Cole Oberli and Jack Hall

Description and Overview of the Project: 

Description/overview

The Meek Aquatic Center, the newest addition to the buildings here at Ohio Wesleyan University, has a fairly large pond outside of it, splitting the grounds between the building and the road. The pond looks to be well maintained, however a hue of blue in the water detracts from the natural splendor it is capable of. As a group, we would like to explore the several different avenues of environmental reconciliation and promote the “invasion” of wildlife from all facets of nature, from amphibians to birds and etcetera. Although the spread of amphibians may be almost too hands on, the approach would be literally moving these animals to the pond, other animals such as birds can be attracted to these areas through the construction of birdhouses. Cole and I have found a few native species of birds that are naturally found around bodies of water, and do well with large fields and semi-dense forests. Through the collection of data we have narrowed the bird species to five.

Taking into account the nature of different birds, some are territorial and may not exist well with others, possibly deciding on one type of bird to attract is one option. Many birds nest very high in the trees, making the practicality of these birdhouses fairly small; however a few species only need about 8 feet from the ground. This information is still being collected and sorted.

Kestrels in particular would like the area around Meek.  It is relatively flat, there’s a water source, and there are plenty of high places for a Kestrel to perch.  Kestrels would also appreciate bird houses because they usually don’t build their own nests.  They either steal them or use houses.

Another possibility is to construct a bat house to be placed directly onto the Meeks Aquatic Center. Bats live in large communes and many can sleep in the same “house”. The pond, because of the attraction of bugs, would be an excellent location for them. Bats also would be able to limit the insect populations that the pond will produce, the one insect in particular that comes to mind is mosquitoes.

Butterflies can also be attracted to the pond.  They are attracted to milkweeds, which are plants that would fit in around the pond.  Their presence would be appreciated by both the birds and walkers by.

More plants can be added to the area surrounding the pond.  The addition of plants attracts more insects and small mammals.  These are food sources for the birds. 

Outline of the Project:  Jack and I could install birdhouses at several points around the retention pond.  The building of Meek could be used.  Birdhouses could also be erected on poles in the field near the retention pond.  Birdhouses could also be erected in the “garden” surround the edge of the pond closest to Meek. 

Belfries for the bats could be hidden along the walls of the upper section of Meek, where they’d be mostly out of sight.  Bats are less sightly (and dirtier) than birds, so housing for them should be hidden from sight.

Buying and building belfries and birdhouses will be expensive.  Birdhouses could cost $30 a piece and belfries would be at least twice that.  Besides those prices poles and cement to stabilize the poles will cost money. 


A new section of plants could be planted on the side of the pond closest to the road.  These would be the plants to attract butterflies and insects for birds to eat. 

Bibliography:

Ackley, Jeffery, and Peter Meylan. “Watersnake Eden.” Herptological Conservation and Ecolog 5.1 (2010): 17-22. herpconbio.org. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.

The case study studies the differences between watersnakes living retention ponds and watersnakes living in natural ponds and streams.  The study finds little difference.

“Butterfly Gardening – Plants to Attract Butterflies, Hummingbirds, and Wildlife.” The Butterfly WebSite – butterfly photos, butterfly clipart, education, butterfly zoos and more!. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://butterflywebsite.com/butterflygardening.cfm&gt;.

Other than birds, we thought attracting butterflies to the pond would be helpful.  This webpage lists what kinds of plants caterpillars of a species like and what kinds of plants butterflies of a species like.

“Cardinal (Bird).” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2011. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_%28bird%29>.
Cardinals are among the birds we are most interested in attracting.  This page lists habitats, food sources, and habits of the cardinal.

“Coveside Bird Houses & Bird Feeders.” Coveside Bird Houses & Bird Feeders. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://www.coveside.biz/&gt;.

If you want to attract birds, you need a place for them to live.  This page has different ideas for birdhouses of different species.

“Monarch (butterfly) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_%28butterfly%29

We also want to attract butterflies.  The wikipedia article summarizes the habits and habitats of the butterfly.

Ohio Division of Wildlife. Common Birds of Ohio Guidebook. Web. <http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/9/pdf/pub414.pdf&gt;.

This handy guidebook provided information about species of birds are common in the Delaware area and what species of birds would be attracted to a pond.

“Providing Safe Food.” How to Attract Birds — . N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://howtoattractbirds.com/providing-safe-food/&gt;.

This article contains information for keeping birds fed long term.  It suggests finding ways to attract insects long-term.

“Reconciliation ecology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconciliation_ecology&gt;.

The Wikipedia article explained the basics of Reconciliation Ecology, which as it turns out is what we wanted to do for the project.

“Reliable Prosperity: Ecological Infrastructure.” Reliable Prosperity. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2011. <http://www.reliableprosperity.net/ecological_infrastructure.html&gt;.
The article summarizes the effects of stormwater retention ponds on the ecological infrastructure of an area.

Rosenzweig, Michael. Win-Win Ecology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.

In the chapter “Hardcore Reconciliation” Rosenzweig gives examples of reconciliation.  In particular he writes about projects which can be undertaken on stormwater retention ponds.

2 Responses to Project Proposal: Pond Reconciliation

  1. viperhk says:

    I like this idea! Building houses for birds and bats, as well as planting more flowers to attract insects would seem to be the best way to make full use of the pond outside the aquatics center. But you need to make sure that there isn’t competition for these houses. As you said, kestrels steal nests. You also need to watch the budget. It sounds like yours may cost a bit.

  2. msriharsha says:

    Very interesting and exciting because it directly involves making changes to the biodiversity of a particular ecosystem. I understand how getting bats makes practical sense considering they will have food and shelter, but would they be really welcome when it comes to aesthetics – which i feel is an important aspect of your project. It would be interesting to see the project come through. Good luck!

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