By DAVID RUNK
DETROIT (AP) – Volunteers plan to converge Saturday on Detroit’s Belle Isle for a spring cleanup and the transfer of koi into a pond outside the island’s more than century-old aquarium.
The cleanup runs 9 a.m. to noon, and the Belle Isle Aquarium’s koi transfer takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fish spend the winter indoors, and volunteers interested in helping move them should bring a new 5-gallon bucket or a new 20- to 30-gallon plastic tote with a lid.
“Parents bring their kids thinking that they will just watch, but usually they end up in the pond too,” Jennifer Boardman, the co-chair of the Belle Isle Aquarium Committee, said in a statement.
More volunteers are being sought for both events. Food and drinks will be provided to those who help. Detroit Synergy’s Spring into Nature Belle Isle 5K Run/Walk also takes place at 10 a.m.
The aquarium operates through the Belle Isle Conservancy, which is coordinating this weekend’s events. Belle Isle in February became a state park, with the Department of Natural Resources taking over management as part of a cost-cutting effort for bankrupt Detroit.
The aquarium also is extending its hours. Starting the weekend of June 7 it will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., instead of just on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. After being closed for years, the aquarium reopened to the public in September 2012.
“This is all due to volunteer support,” Vance Patrick, Belle Isle Conservancy board member, said of the expanded hours.
For the cleanup, volunteers are asked to register in advance online. They should check in at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Belle Isle Casino and dress for the weather, wearing boots and gloves. They’re asked to bring their own lawn rake, if possible, to help.
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