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Drumheller duckling debut

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Carpenters Danny McCoy and Gordon Keough install the duckling ramp
Facilities crews install duckling ramp

The cherry blossoms have bloomed, the sun is starting to peek out from the clouds, and ducklings will soon take up residence at their favorite campus fountain. In the early hours of Tuesday, April 5, maintenance crews from Facilities Services installed a campus icon almost as famous as the fountain itself, the duckling ramp.

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Carpenters Danny McCoy and Gordon Keough and their lead Robin Shoemake install the duckling ramp

Carpenters Danny McCoy and Gordon Keough and their lead Robin Shoemake install the duckling ramp at Drumheller Fountain on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Carpenter Danny McCoy designed and built the duck ramp, with assistance from fellow carpenter Gordon Keough, and sheet metal mechanic Lance Jensen and his lead Jerrett Roberge, who fabricated and installed the railing around it. These skilled tradespeople from Facilities Maintenance & Construction came together to create the first ramp for Drumheller’s ducklings years ago, and they’ve refined their design in the last few years.

“This is our third or fourth version of the ramp,” said Architectural Trades Lead Robin Shoemake. “The floating component is now two years old, while the ramp pieces are three or four years old.”

Maintenance crews deploy the ramp every year when the fountain is turned on after its winter hiatus, usually the first week of April. The ramp usually stays out for a month or so, until the ducklings are able to fly out of the pond and stop using the ramp.

“We spotted two mallard mates just this morning during the installation,” said Shoemake.

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Carpenters Danny McCoy and Gordon Keough and their lead Robin Shoemake install the duckling ramp

Carpenters Danny McCoy and Gordon Keough and their lead Robin Shoemake install the duckling ramp at Drumheller Fountain on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

This year the ramp is accompanied by signs reminding the campus community to give the ducks some space.

“We’ve found that when people stand right next to the ramp, the ducklings become afraid to use it,” said maintenance supervisor Dale Baxmann. “We hope the signs will help encourage the community to not get too close.”

On top of huskies scaring off the ducks, a regular occurrence in the PAC-12, ducks can carry Salmonella, and feeding the ducks can make the fountain dirty and attract rats.