Frances Bagley and Tom Orr spent months working in wet suits on the floor of White Rock Lake. Photo borrowed from Bagley's website and taken by Nan Coulter.

Frances Bagley and Tom Orr spent months working in wet suits on the floor of White Rock Lake. Photo borrowed from Bagley’s website and taken by Nan Coulter.

It’s hard to believe that as much time as I have spent at White Rock Lake in the past several years, I still learn new and interesting things about it on a regular basis.

That realization was the impetus for the March cover story, “Ripple Effect,” about the marvels and phenomena surrounding White Rock Lake.

I first noticed the “Water Theater” several months ago, when I stopped during a run to do some stretching. Myriad birds always occupy the posts in the water behind Bath House.

Geese caretakers, also featured in the same story, told me the waterfowl flock to these poles at night because it is the safest place to keep a lookout and avoid predators. Standing on the beach I noticed the aluminum charts on double concrete columns explaining that the fixtures are not just random remnants of the old swimming days, but rather a commissioned work of art.

White Rock-area dwellers Frances Bagley and her husband Tom Orr are the artists who created the “theater” for the birds and water animals in 2001.

“The original project includes 43 steel poles, 20 polycarbonate light poles, 15 floating fiberglass disks, 10-cast stone land elements, 12 aluminum educational wildlife charts and one solar system. By night 20 of the poles softly glow with solar power from the previous days sun,” according to notes from the unveiling.

The pattern forms a stage on which the water wildlife performs for lake goers.

But, Frances tells us, funding for the maintenance of the project ran out years ago, the lights stopped glowing and many of the disks floated away.

Without anymore funding for the public art project, it will probably eventually be removed altogether, Bagley noted.

If that happens, I can’t help but think that the birds will miss their stage. Read more here