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Grant Helps With Reforestation of Biology Pond

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is contributing 177 plants representing 31 different native tree and shrub species.

Located south of Roddy Hall adjacent to the parking lot, the biology pond is fed by a spring that originates from under Roddy Hall. The pond serves as a unique ecosystem with many species of insects and several species of reptiles, amphibians and emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation. It has even experienced occasional blooms of freshwater jellyfish.

When it was noticed that the woody vegetation was erroneously stripped from around the pond, Dr. John Wallace reached out to Ryan Davis, a Senior Forests Projects Manager with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to inquire if MU could partner with ACB to provide some assistance in reforesting this wetland buffer.

“Retired biology professor, Dr. Willis Ratzlaff was the driving force behind the pond’s establishment for faculty and student research in the mid-1970s and conducted his work on copepods, a small group of crustaceans in the pond. Since that time, the biology pond has served both research and lab activity purposes. Over the last 50 years, numerous students have conducted algal, freshwater invertebrate, forensic entomology and fish population studies in addition to hundreds of biodiversity surveys performed each semester by students,” says Wallace.

The ACB is contributing 177 plants representing 31 different native tree and shrub species including bald cypress, several species of oaks and willows, dogwoods, alders and many other species. There will also be two species of native food trees, persimmons and pawpaws, to reestablish the food forest that once existed on the MU campus.  In addition, MU students will plant numerous herbaceous wetland plant species around the periphery of the pond this fall and in the spring of 2023, provided through a Lancaster Clean Water grant Wallace received in 2021.

The impact of planting these trees will range from improving the biodiversity, water quality and ecosystem functioning in and around the biology pond to adding economic and municipal value by providing assistance in managing stormwater runoff and eventually reducing sediment and pollutant contributions to nearby streams,” says Wallace.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the reforestation of the biology pond on October 14 from 3 – 5 p.m., please contact Dr. John Wallace at or by phone at 717-871-2700.

This is one part of a multi-part project funded by a generous donor.

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