Friends of Pastorius Park needs volunteers to help clear the pond of a year’s worth of leaves, sticks, branches and sweet gum balls. The cleanup will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8, beginning at 9 a.m., both days.

Just last spring 17 years of accumulated organic debris was laboriously and expensively removed by the city. Under the advisement of pond specialist Hermann Twelkmeyer, who installs the aeration fountains and circulating pumps for the pond, FoPP will be holding this volunteer cleaning of the shallow pond in collaboration with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation.

Beginning on Monday, April 2, PPR will draw down the pond so that most of the water will be gone by the weekend, and volunteers can enter the pond with rakes and snow shovels (NO heavy metal gardening spades, etc.). Leaves and other debris will be raked into piles by volunteers, then loaded onto wheel barrows and taken to the edges of the park to deposit and dry.

There are presently no fish in the pond. The turtles who live there will be handled carefully, under the direction of pond specialist Hermann, and if necessary, temporarily placed in the moat for their protection, as was done last spring.

This will be a two-day, Saturday and Sunday, event, which should, when completed, set the park’s water system up for a great 2018 spring/summer season.

Once the weekend cleanup is finished, the pond will be refilled by PPR. Soon thereafter, FoPP will have the aeration fountains and pumps installed.

FoPP wants to get this job finished efficiently and quickly, so the more volunteers we have, the better. Please come out and help us in this effort! We want to get everything done ahead of the appearance of the spring peepers (usually in mid-April). Originally and ideally this work was planned for late March. However, unstable, prolonged winter weather, and an early Easter holiday made this plan untenable.

What volunteers will need: work gloves; rakes (we have a few in the warming hut); snow shovels; a wheelbarrow, large plastic tarp (or both), if you have them; water repellant clothing; boots or waders; clothing layers to keep warm, and to remove as you heat up working.