What’s Actually in the Lake?


Sara Beth Cimowsky

North Atlanta’s lake reflects Atlanta’s blue sky and provides inspiring scenery for the students in our 11 story building.

While many people marvel at our school building, they often forget to look beneath it. Underneath our towering fortress is something that sets us apart from most other schools – a lake. The contents of this lake are speculated about, with rumors flying around faster than students rushing to the parking deck on a Friday afternoon.

Ask around our aquatic school environment and you’ll hear wild stories about what dwells in the murky depths. “I’ve seen last year’s senior class, a heron named Harry, and one time, I saw the Loch Ness Monster,” said sophomore Helen Holderread, with a sarcastic flourish.

“I saw a shark and a turtle named Speedy. We named him that because he swam all the way across the lake,” said sophomore Lark Izenson.

IB Biology teacher Marie Killory has all the details on the wetland wildlife. She has led her juniors and seniors to the lake’s bank and together she and her students have collected samples in order to document exactly what lives in the water. There are methane­producing bacteria, snapping turtles and even some water snakes. But don’t worry: These swimming reptiles are not venomous. On the banks of our lake we find bullfrogs, six or seven nesting pairs of geese, and a heron. “When we moved into the building we had three pairs of geese. That number keeps going up,” said Killory.

While the growth in the goose population is a good sign, Killory also noted that there was an increase in algae this year. The water has been cloudier and more opaque, which was probably caused by runoff from landscape fertilizers. As always, this is a reminder that the landscape in which we study is a privilege, and we should enjoy it and protect it.

To the question of what actually is in the lake, the answer is – a lot.