Perking up Peacock Pond

Some class lab activities are born out of necessity.

Having conducted tests on Peacock Pond for a class and noticed debris there, Instructor of Biology Deborah Cato has felt the need to address the condition of the pond for a while. So when she began teaching “Ponds to Particles” this semester she created an opportunity to do just that with her students, while providing a learning and campus community service opportunity.

“Ponds to Particles” is an interdisciplinary course that connects science to the real world through hands-on, problem-based science and practical application. As part of the course, students work as a team to solve a related local town problem.

This semester they were scheduled to do that work for the Norton Land Preservation Society, Cato noted, “So, I thought there’s no better place to do something like this than to start at home.”

So, on a clear September morning, 26 students (along with surprise guest President Dennis Hanno) pulledon overall waders, climbed into kayaks, grabbed rakes, and jumped into Peacock Pond to do some much-needed cleaning.

The students were enthusiastic to get their hands dirty for a worthy cause.

“We were more than happy to, because it is our pond and it’s on our campus and we want to be proud of it,” said Erica McCormack ’15, an education major.

They retrieved many items were from the pond during the cleanup, including 39 plastic bags, 166 pieces of food waste, 17 cans, and two shoes. Ironically enough, a trash can was even found on the floor of the pond.

While the immediate goal of the work was to remove some of the waste there, students are also going to continue efforts throughout the semester to raise awareness about the shared responsibility of keeping Wheaton’s campus clean. Posters, signs, and other forms of outreach are being planned.