As the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa heads for redevelopment, its owner has found new homes for the koi fish that have lived in the mall’s pond for more than 25 years.
Urban Edge Properties, which will be redeveloping the mall in the near future, has relocated the koi to two schools and the Long Island Aquarium.
After extensive discussions with professional aquarists, half of the koi population have been moved to Nassau BOCES (Carman Road School) and Oyster Bay High School. Both schools demonstrated an ability to not only provide an appropriate environment for the koi and the means to care for them over many years to come, but also will incorporate the koi into their animal care curriculum.
The remaining koi were transported to the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead where trained and respected staff prepared a curated environment for the fish. The aquarium serves as home to several varieties of koi where visitors can feed the fish for a nominal fee.
“We have no doubt that the environment and trained staff at the aquarium and schools will provide the ideal atmosphere for the fish to live long, safe, and healthy lives,” said Urban Edge Properties Vice President Coleen Conklin.
Paula Norton, a teacher assistant for Special Education, said the Oyster Bay/East Norwich School District is thankful to be one of the recipients of the Sunrise Mall’s koi fish.
“Our high school is fortunate to have a courtyard within the school grounds where we have a greenhouse and pond which was built many years ago by our environmental class,” she said. “As part of a skills training program, the pond is maintained by our special needs students who feed the koi daily and tend to the filters. The pond and courtyard serve as a serene location for the high school students to attend class as well as enjoy listening to the peaceful waterfall while looking at the beautiful koi pond.”
Pamela Norton, an environmental education teacher, said Nassau BOCES Carman Road School was also excited to receive koi fish from the Sunrise Mall pond.
“Our students are learning about koi in a natural setting in our greenhouse pond,” Norton said. “Science, language and art lessons are designed to highlight the koi and tasks involved in caring for them.”
Noel Heinsohn, curator of fish at the Long Island Aquarium, said the aquarium was happy to add the mall’s koi to its collection.
“These animals will continue to help educate the public about koi and their relatives, engaging guests with their unique features and extraordinary behaviors,” Heinsohn said. “We are greatly appreciative of the partnership with the Sunrise Mall to make this transition as smooth as possible.”