GUEST COLUMN: Pond-ering Redd’s Pond’s health, secrets

We are Eric Njenga and Jack Conley, eighth-graders at the Marblehead Community Charter Public School. For our final project at Charter, our grade did a community service learning project. We chose our project to focus on the environmental health of Redd’s Pond.

Marblehead Community Charter Public School students Eric Njenga, middle, and Jack Conley share a moment of reflection with Standley Goodwin, a neighbor of Redds Pond. COURTESY PHOTOS / SEAN CONLEY

We chose this topic because Jack has lived in this town his whole life, and we both consider the pond a part of our community. We know there is a long history to it, and we want to make sure that the pond and the organisms in it remain healthy for future generations. Model boating, fishing and other recreational activities are vital to the history and culture of Marblehead.

To keep the pond in good shape for the future, we decided to take some scientific readings and share them with the community. The first measurement was to determine the pond’s depth using a 14-foot PVC pole. Most sources claimed the pond was 10-11 feet at its deepest point. However, we measured the pond at 13 feet in two spots near the middle buoys.

Second, we skimmed the bottom of the pond to determine what plants might be growing, and if there were any interesting objects. Legend has it that a truck is down there somewhere. We did not find an old truck, but at its deepest point we did find an old model boat. Since it had lead for the keel and was plastic made in the USA, we determined that it was likely from the 60s or 70s. Mr. Standley Goodwin, a neighbor of Redd’s Pond, also guessed the boat was from that era. He also mentioned that the rumor of a truck might have originated from the auto repair shop nearby, which might have dumped some car frames into the pond. There was also a car crash into the wall at one point, so maybe over time, the car crash and the car parts turned into the story of a truck crashing into the pond.

Jack Conley and his dad, Sean, use a row boat in Redds Pond to study the body of water this summer.

Mr. Goodwin also told us about the pond’s history, how it was used as a fire reservoir in the late 1800s, and then as the town’s water supply until they built wells and pipes from Leggs Hill Road. Boat races started in the 1890s, with the Marblehead Model Yacht Club forming some years later. In the 1950s, the Fish and Game club stocked the pond with bass, which has mostly replaced the carp and sunfish. Over the years, many modifications have been made to the pond, including a dam by the red houses, moving a barn on pontoons and many retaining walls, giving the pond its current shape.

After we took the measurements, we used a water testing kit in the pond and found out there was a slightly high amount of lead in the water, but nothing at an unsafe level. No harmful bacteria were detected, and the pH levels were normal. We did use an underwater camera on a pole to try and identify the marine life present near the bottom, but the pictures were inconclusive.

 Marblehead Community Charter Public School students Eric Njenga and Jack Conley found this model boat during their summertime investigation of Redds Pond.

After a beautiful day at Redd’s Pond, we learned a lot about its contents and history. Hopefully, people will continue to learn more about the pond’s health and ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the pond’s reflection just as we have.

Thank you for hearing our story about our community service learning project. We would also like to acknowledge and thank those in the community that helped us:

– Biff Martin – Marblehead Model Yacht Club
– Doug Park – Redds Pond Boathouse
– Fred Ferris – Marblehead Ace Hardware
– Standley Goodwin – Redds Pond neighbor
– Luca Ferro – Marblehead High School Senior
– Chris Kennedy and Sean Conley – for supplies and encouragement

Eric Njenga and Jack Conley

Leave a ReplyCancel reply

Exit mobile version