In 2015, grant money from several sources, as well as numerous local donations, enabled the school to be involved in renovating the Council Community Pond, located just a half mile from school grounds, into an outdoor classroom. Students can walk from school for hand-on lessons in anything from water quality to soil chemistry to native plant identification. Several high school students have completed projects to contribute to the pond’s renovation, including the construction of a floating vegetation island, the introduction of grass carp as biological algae control, and helping to design the watering system for the native plant beds. This project truly is an “all hands” effort, resulting in a resource both students and the community at large can enjoy.
October 2016 Update
Council Community Pond Gets New Fishing Platform, Quilt Squares
There is a little more room to cast at the Council Community Pond now. Dave Allred and crew just completed a rebuild/expansion of the old fishing platform, which was beginning to sag and show signs of structural failure. The new platform is longer, supported by multiple cement pilings, and includes inset sections of low rail for the shorter fishing crowd. Labor costs were covered by a grant from the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation and materials were funded by Idaho Fish and Game. The entire platform will receive a new coat of sealant to protect it from the elements next year.
Barbara Howard again showcased her artistic talent and designed two quilt squares (rectangles, actually) to be displayed at the pond picnic shelter. Barbara focused on highlighting the birds and native plants that can be seen at the pond and park, and around the Council Valley. Her work will be paid for with grant money. Pete Johnston volunteered to install them and they will soon be visible for all to enjoy.
Lastly, the pond welcome kiosk rebuild is underway. Council High School students, under the guidance of Mr. Corbett, have installed most of the structure and continue to work on getting the metal roof and additional supports in place before installing the two aluminum panel welcome signs. Materials for the kiosk were purchased by Idaho Fish and Game, and the signs themselves were funded by a Forest Service grant.
April 2016 Update
Council High School students, along with teachers Mrs. Holmes and Ms. Siegel and Forest Service personnel, planted trees at the Council Pond. Students learned about the best way to plant a tree to ensure survival, and also discussed landscaping principles they learned in Mrs. Holmes’ class as they decided how to space and stagger multiple trees in a group. This work is part of the ongoing Council Pond renovation, and trees will eventually provide shade for visitors and habitat for various birds as they grow. The species planted include natives like willow, aspen and mountain ash. The next step in the renovation is installment of a welcome sign, for which Mr. Corbett’s shop class is designing a kiosk, several interpretive signs, and new logs, donated by Mahon Logging, to define the parking area.
November 2015 Update
The pond project is wrapping up for the winter. Mrs. Holmes’ students have planted most of the plants and trees, and irrigation will be put in next spring. Over the past few months, a permanent restroom, shade shelter/picnic tables, and fire rings were all installed. A graveled perimeter trail was also constructed.