Thursday, July 24, 2008

UPDATE: Border Collies on School Property? YES!

Photo Credit: Kirk Condyles for The New York Times

UPDATE: Today I received word that the Ridgewood Board of Education has granted authorized volunteer resident border collie owners permission to flush geese from school property with their dogs following the GeesePeace protocol.

I will be meeting with Mr. Angelo DeSimone, the Business Administrator for Ridgewood Public Schools, to iron out last details. The geese are still in their molt cycle, but they'll be flying again soon--perhaps as soon as next week, early August latest. As soon as they take to the air again we'll be ready to chase them from Stevens and RHS Stadium fields. Not enough volunteers yet to cover the remaining BOE properties, but I'll be working on that. All volunteers welcome. Don't need a dog to help; the dog handlers need helpers! Contact me if you're interested in helping out. View my profile on this page for contact information.

Stay tuned.


Great news:
Angelo DeSimone, Business Administrator for Ridgewood Public Schools, asked me to present the GeesePeace program at the Board of Education meeting held Monday, April 7. I first met with Mr. DeSimone April 3, at the request of Steven Tichenor, Manager of Maintenance and Custodial Services, who attended our March 27 training session. After Steven and I presented the GeesePeace program to Mr. DeSimone, he was in full favor of allowing resident volunteer border collie owners to flush geese from our school fields, but needed to get the Board's approval.

At the April 7 meeting, the Board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing trained GeesePeace volunteers to oil eggs on school properties, and tentatively agreed to allow residents to put their dogs to work after nesting season, which ends around first week of May. What I need to do now is reach out to the half dozen or so border collie owners who raised their hands last year, and come up with a plan which I will present to the Board at its next meeting April 28.

I can't tell you how huge this will be if we can make this work. Many of you know that the Village will not allow us to use border collies on its property. But if we succeed on the distinct BOE properties this year, maybe the Village will take notice and either authorize volunteers to work its properties next year, or better still purchase a Village dog and hire a professional handler for next year.

Together we can make this work. Consider the GeesePeace success story in Oyster Bay, NY. I stumbled across this New York Times article while searching for an image of dogs flushing geese:

“The results have been amazing,” said Eric Swenson, Oyster Bay superintendent of environmental control. “We have our schools virtually free of goose problems. No one wants their kid tackled on a football field full of goose droppings.”

The article is worth a read. Good stuff including a concise history of the suburban goose problem and the origin of the GeesePeace 60-mile strategy for the NY Metropolitan area.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for updates on our own border collie program!


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