On Sunday July 21, 2013, I organized and lead the clean-up of a neglected pond in our park. A group of family and friends volunteered to help me clean and restore the trails around the beautiful Strack Pond in Forest Park. Strack Pond is a kettle pond. A kettle pond is a fluvioglacial landform, occurring as the result of blocks of ice calving from the front of a receding glacier and becoming partially to wholly buried by glacial outwash. Glacial outwash is generated when streams of meltwater flow away from the glacier and deposit sediment to form broad outwash plains called sandurs. When the ice blocks melt, kettle holes are left in the sandur. So, basically Strack Pond was formed by a glacier nearly 20,000 years ago. Back in the 1960’s the pond was filled in and turned into a ballfield. This ballfield flooded so often that it became unusable. The land was swampy and untended, overrun with insects and refuse. It remained in this neglected state for years. A few years ago it was converted back to its natural state. It exists today how it was originally meant to exist, as a kettle pond overflowing with a thriving ecosystem of plant and animal life. The pond was named after Private First Class Lawrence George E. Strack (1948-1967), the first Woodhaven resident to die serving in the Vietnam War.
Our aim was to collect trash and waste, and widen the trails for people to walk upon by cutting down invasive plant species. We broke up into two separate groups. One group collected trash and debris around the pond. The other group widened the path around the pond which had become overgrown and in some places completely blocked. We used professional tools, provided by the parks department, like shears to cut plants and grabbers to collect trash. We cut down plants over six feet tall that were blocking the trails and collected a large amount of soda cans, beer bottles, gum wrappers and cigarette wrappers. After we were done, the pond was clean, and in great shape. Now any visitor can enjoy the trails and the pond without any trash or overgrowth in their way. The pond looks better than ever. After our cleanup we relaxed by the pond. We spotted turtles and dragonflies in and around the pond. Watched as minnows and larger fish swam through the clean water, now free of debris. It was a rewarding site.
Some of my favorite memories as a small child are of visiting Strack Pond with my family. I think it was a great idea to make the pond more accessible to the public. I feel that doing these things to help your community and environment are things everyone should do. If everyone just pitched in a little, the world would be a more enjoyable place. I would like to thank and congratulate my great volunteers, for their hard work that helped me achieve my goal!