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What’s for lunch at Powderhorn Park?

By Gail Irish, Powderhorn Resident

Here’s a little quiz for you. What do the wild ducks and geese in Powderhorn Park like to eat?

  1. Grains, aquatic plants, grasses, and invertebrates

  2. Popcorn, bread, cake, doughnuts and chips

If you picked the first answer, you’re right! If you picked the second answer, it might be because you’ve seen people feeding these foods to the ducks and geese in our park.

I know it’s fun to go to the park and feed the ducks, but “people food” isn’t good for them. One person throwing a few crackers might not seem harmful, but if everyone visiting the park (local daycare centers, school groups, families, etc.) brings crackers, this soon becomes most of what the ducks eat, and it makes them sick. Did you know that waterfowl from public parks often end up in wildlife rehabilitation centers with metabolic bone disease due to the lack of a nutritionally balanced diet? This, along with environmental and water quality degradation, is only one of many health issues that can develop, all as a result of people feeding the ducks.

Powderhorn Park is on Dakota land. Our Indigenous neighbors teach us that we are all related. If the water in the lake and the ducks are our relatives, how might we care for them differently? Though addressing climate change on a global level seems overwhelming, there’s much we can accomplish on a daily basis in our community that models respect for life. Here are a few actions I thought of:

For the ducks:

  • Ask people in a friendly way not to feed the ducks. No crackers for quackers!

  • Propose a new sign at lake’s edge. Have you noticed the small, old sign near the park building that asks us not to feed the ducks? It’s not very visible and has a lot of English words on it. What kind of signage might work better?

  • Learn more about the waterfowl that inhabit our lake.

For the water:

  • Clean up trash on the street and in the park so it doesn’t get into the lake and clog the filters.

  • Adopt a Drain on your block to keep trash from getting into the lake (

  • Control soil erosion

  • Use phosphorus-free fertilizer (or skip the fertilizer completely).

  • Pick up after your pet.

  • Your ideas here!

Photo By Jules Wight


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