Splashy Benefit for Duck Pond
The Friends of Rye Town Park held a “Make A Splash” benefit March 3 to help in the improvement and maintenance of the park’s duck pond.
By Bill Lawyer
The Friends of Rye Town Park held a “Make A Splash” benefit March 3 to help in the improvement and maintenance of the park’s duck pond. The informal event at Coveleigh Club brought out a generous crowd of close to 100.
Thirty-five local businesses and residents donated an array of items for the silent auction. And FRTP board member Ellen Slater put together a “virtual pond” display, filled with “donation ducks” to provide another way for people to lend their support.
The pond at Rye Town Park takes up fewer than two of the park’s 62 acres of lawns, flower beds, beach, and other natural features. But in many ways it’s the jewel in the park’s crown.
Commonly known as the “Duck Pond”, it’s home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Fish, turtles, ducks, and other waterfowl feed on micro-organisms, duckweed, and other vegetation — all with no help from humans. And, in spring and fall it provides a “pit stop” for birds migrating north and south.
Long before Rye Town Park was created in 1909, the area where the pond was located was a natural wetland, receiving runoff from higher elevations to the north and south. Its water level would rise and fall depending on nature’s watering whims.
But maintaining a pond in the context of a public park requires human assistance. The Friends of Rye Town Park came to the pond’s rescue, led by Pres. Chris Cohan. In 2004-5 they transformed what had been a small, murky morass into a much larger, year-round popular public attraction.
Major funding for this project came from the State of New York, which enabled the pond to function in improving the quality of water that flowed from the pond into Long Island Sound.
To achieve that goal, the park, with help from FRTP, has been carrying out activities to remove the nitrogen, phosphorus, and other natural nutrients that from the outflow.
As FRTP President Linda Wells explained at the benefit, Rye Town Park and the FRTP are working this year with the Connecticut-based Pond and Lake Connection Company to monitor water quality and use non-toxic materials to reduce algae and nutrient levels.
Musical entertainment for the event was provided by board member/ pianist/vocalist Donna Cribari. She was supported by a shifting group of volunteer backup singers dubbed “The Donnettes”. Ms. Cribari is a winner of the prestigious Cab Callaway Award.
— Photos by Robin Jovanovich and Bill Lawyer