This Week in History: App State ducks relocated amid concerns for environment

Madalyn Edwards curated this story by David P. Harrison, in which The Appalachian published Oct. 13, 1977.

Those upperclassmen who live in Justice or Newland Residence Halls or frequent that area may have noticed the absence of a tradition at ASU–ducks.

When the construction of Rivers Street began late last spring, 17 mallards were removed from the pond to the Environmental Studies Reserves (ESR) located behind the Center for Continuing Education.

Within weeks of their move to the ESR, the ducks had to be relocated to the Watauga River at Camp Broadstone, Valle Crucis, for ecological reasons, according to John Mackay, Director of ESR.

The move of the ducks to the ESR pond was done “without the greatest concern for the environment” there, Mackay conceded.

Mackay said several persons approached him showing concern for the safety of the ducks while the road was under construction. He then allowed the ducks to be moved to the ESR. He said after two weeks, he saw this to be an unwise move.

The ESR, intended to have a pure environment, experienced drastic changes with the arrival of the ducks. Mackay noted the birds’ movement stirred up the silt content of the previously clear ESR pond.

Also, persons who came to the ESR area to feed the ducks often left litter and plastic bread bags, increasing the damage to the environment, Mackay feels.