Saratoga County

Yaddo pond koi return for summer season

Like human snowbirds who come back north to the city when the temperatures rise, the eye-catching fi
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Like human snowbirds who come back north to the city when the temperatures rise, the eye-catching fish at Yaddo are back in their summer home.

The three large, brightly-colored koi and more than 100 smaller goldfish swim in the rose garden pond during the warm season, inviting Yaddo visitors to admire them along with the roses.

In the cool months, the fish swim in an indoor pond at the F. Donald Myers Education Center on Henning Road under the care of BOCES horticulture students and teacher Jim Chorman.

For 15 years, Chorman and his students have been caring for the Yaddo fish, so long that Chorman isn’t even sure whose fish they are.

“Do they belong to BOCES or do they belong to Yaddo?” he asked with a smile as a few of his students prepared to release the fish from plastic buckets full of water.

Friday was their last day of class at BOCES.

Students become attached to the fish, although the scaled creatures need little care other than a handful of fish food now and then.

“In the pond, they’ll always come up and rub on your fingers,” said Julia Graziano, a junior in the program.

Don’t expect to get that kind of reception as a visitor at Yaddo.

Chorman told the students on Friday that the koi, which were dropped off the day before, were swimming toward them because they recognized the students’ voices.

In October, students will come back with Chorman, drain the Yaddo pond and capture the fish to bring them back to the landscaped fountain in the Myers Center.

“We had to drain [the pond] down to catch the fish,” Chorman said. “Otherwise, it’s impossible to catch them.”

These goldfish are a little more hardy than the kind you win at the county fair that end up floating on the fish tank surface a few days later.

“We don’t really have any that die,” Graziano said.

Yaddo used to keep fish in more ponds than just the rose garden one, but now confines the fish to one pond, said Pat Traver, a maintenance worker. “It’s just time-consuming to clean up after them.”

BOCES FFA members volunteer at Yaddo seven times a year under Chorman’s tutelage.

They help get the roses ready for winter by mounding soil around the plants and spreading straw over them, Chorman said.

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