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In the Garden: Fundraiser benefits Mirror Pond

Sun., July 13, 2014, midnight

The Friends of Manito president Dave Lennstrom and vice president Stephanie Hughes admire Mirror Pond in Manito Park. (Susan Mulvihill)
The Friends of Manito president Dave Lennstrom and vice president Stephanie Hughes admire Mirror Pond in Manito Park. (Susan Mulvihill)

Over the past 23 years, volunteers with the nonprofit The Friends of Manito have raised nearly $700,000 toward the group’s mission of helping preserve and improve Manito Park.

They are raising funds to restore Mirror Pond, a feature located in the lower park that many know simply as “the duck pond.”

“What needs to happen is shoreline improvement involving the placement of rocks and basalt columns around the perimeter,” TFM president Dave Lennstrom explained. “We also want to add new landscaping including groves of trees to shade parts of the pond and build an interactive path around it.”

They’ll add a system that automatically controls the level of the water in the pond as well. Some of the improvements will begin this fall.

All of this comes at a cost of $305,000. So far, TFM has received a $60,000 grant from the city which they have matched. Through other fundraising, they’ve raised all but $100,000 toward their goal.

That’s where you come in.

How would you like to spend a pleasant Sunday in the park while helping Friends of Manito get the Mirror Pond project underway?

July 20, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., you can do just that by attending the second annual Picnic for the Pond at Manito Park’s lower picnic shelter.

This year’s event features a catered dinner, live music from Big Red Barn and a silent auction. No-Li Brewhouse will set up a no-host beer and wine garden. KPBX’s Verne Windham will be the emcee for the evening. So far, four sponsors are helping underwrite the event: Wells Fargo Advisors, Fulcrum Financial Group, Chase Bank and Washington Trust Bank.

Anyone donating $1,000 will have their names inscribed in the new basalt monument northeast of the pond.

Another issue significantly impacting the pond’s water quality: feeding the ducks.

It’s quite common to see families feeding bread to the ducks because it’s something kids love to do. Unfortunately, all of that love is overwhelming the pond. The ducks eat the bread and do, well, what well-fed ducks do.

“The pond is shallow and heats up in the summer,” Friends vice president Stephanie Hughes said. “If there are nutrients from the ducks, algae grows and causes the green muck you see in the pond.”

There is a park ordinance against feeding the ducks – and signs indicating that around the pond. Park staff and volunteers hope that continued education efforts, as well as water quality treatments, will alleviate this problem.

Hughes understands how much the Mirror Pond restoration will benefit the community:

“TripAdvisor recently listed Manito Park as one of the top 25 attractions in the country,” Hughes said. “It’s truly the gem of Spokane. A lot of visitors come here to see it so we want to polish that gem.”

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