The 10 most interesting things I’ve learned
There’s more to having a pond than having fun. You can learn stuff from a pond too. When I was asked to write about the things I’ve learned from growing up around a pond, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But my mom thought it was a great idea and I said I’d try. She said, “Just tell me the 10 most interesting things you’ve learned from being around a pond, and I’ll write them on a piece of paper. Then you can take that list and write about each thing on it. Just write like you talk.” And I said OK. So, here are the 10 most interesting things I could think of, and I hope you like it.
1. Not all bacteria is bad.
I thought bacteria was the stuff I was washing off my hands to keep from getting sick, but there is actually good bacteria that helps keep a pond clean. Bacteria helps eat up the fish poop and dead leaves that are in the pond. It is so small that you can’t even see it, but without it the pond would be yucky.
2. Koi can fly out of the water.
Koi can jump out of the water. Once my mom was in the pond and one of our koi jumped over her head like in “Free Willy.” Sometimes, when I look out my bedroom window, I see them jump so high that they look like whales in the ocean.
3. You shouldn’t go fishing in your pond.
I love to fish, so it seems like my pond would the perfect place for fishing. It has a lot of big fish, right in my backyard, and the fish are always hungry. I think it would be really fun, but you wouldn’t want to catch the really expensive ones. I’m sure my mom and dad wouldn’t be very happy with me.
4. Swimming in a pond is more fun than swimming in a pool.
My friends always ask if we can go swimming in our pond, and I tell them yes. It’s really fun when the fish circle around you. We can’t do cannonballs in the pond, but we can still have fun if we are not “too wild.” That’s what my mom says. Sometimes we put on masks and we look under the water at all the fish and lily pads. My mom makes us promise never to go swimming in the pond without asking her first. She also insists on being out there to watch us for safety. That’s just how Moms are.
^ Austin shows his neighbor, Ally, how much fun it is to swim with the Koi.
5. Koi can get sick from parasites.
There are little bugs that are in some ponds that can make the fish sick. Just a few are OK, but when there are too many they can wreck the water and hurt the fi sh. Doc Johnson, the koi doctor, showed me how to biopsy a koi, which means scraping some of the fish slime off them to look at under a microscope. I saw some weird parasites called “flukes” which look like wiggly worms. According to Mom, it’s not that big of a deal, so my dad is going to put some medicine in the water to kill the flukes. I’ll bet the flukes won’t like it though.
^ Doc Johnson, the koi doctor, shows Austin how to biopsy a koi.
6. The pond is coolest at night.
I love our pond at night because you can see the fish a lot better, and the waterfalls sound so much louder at night. The crickets, toads, and frogs also make really cool sounds. It’s a perfect way to fall asleep.
7. Koi have teeth, but they can’t bite me.
Koi have big mouths that act like big suction cups, but they can’t bite because their teeth are too far back. They suck on your finger and think it’s a worm. It’s a funny feeling to have a fish eat food out of your hand, especially if you close your hand around the food and make them try to suck it out. I’m always trying to get my friends to try, but they always ask the “teeth” question first.
8. Herons are beautiful, but they like to eat koi.
Herons love to eat fish, and they are very determined hunters. Once we had to scare a heron away every day for a week before it stopped coming back. We would run out in back looking like we were crazy, waving our arms and yelling. We even put out some of my rubber snakes to scare it away. The heron did stab one of our koi in the side, but he’s still living.
9. Dragonflies are awesome.
Dragonflies are fun to watch when they circle around the pond. They eat tons of mosquitoes and deer flies. Dragonflies are so fast and such good flyers. They can fly close to the water, but the koi never catch them. My dad told me that people have never been able to build a flying machine as good as a dragonfly.
10. Ponds are better than TV and video games.
My friends and I love to feed the fish and explore the pond. We are always searching for frogs and toads along the sides of the stream. There are a lot of interesting creatures that live in the stream and in the shallow areas of the pond. Besides toads and frogs, we also find water striders and dragonfly naiads. One of our favorite things to watch is a pair of ducks that visit each day to take a bath in the waterfall. They are really funny.
^ Austin Beaulieu has grown up in and around a pond. That experience has taught him to love and respect the natural world, increasing his awareness of our delicate ecosystem.