Every couple years, the University of New Mexico duck pond is drained by UNM’s Facilities Management department. The drainage makes the pond a cleaner and healthier environment for the fish, ducks and turtles that reside in the center of campus.

“We take all the turtles and fish to one of the golf courses while it’s emptied, then bring them back once the cleaning is done,, but there’s still a few of them — turtles and ducks — around here. They hang out, you know?” said Dwayne Jones, UNM’s water systems master technician.

Cleaning the pond is a diligent process that takes various steps. First the pond is drained completely, then Facilities Management cleans out the grime and takes it to an offsite landfill. The project is led by Richard Schorr, head of groundskeeping at UNM.

“With all the duck feces and animal droppings, it just builds up a lot of sludge over time,” Jones said.

The cleaning started on July 7, followed by the refilling of the pond on July 11. While no courses are currently taking place in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some students still live close  enough to campus to witness the wildlife walking around.

Elizabeth Dooner was walking her dog through the campus when she noticed three turtles roaming around.

“My dog began to sniff the area where the turtles were,” Dooner said. “Then I looked around and saw three different ones. I didn’t know they were draining the duck pond this summer.”

Now, the duck pond is restored with clearer waters and healthy animals to enjoy the new environment.

Lauren McDonald is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @old_mcdonald25