By Tiffany Rose Miller
LIU Post, nestled on the North Shore with about 307 acres of land, attracts a variety of wild animals, including geese that land and feed on the campus lawns. Many students are unaware of or not troubled by the geese. “The geese don’t really bother me, I barely see them on campus and when I do I don’t feel threatened, Thomas Palini, a junior political science major and Class of 2019 President, said. Yet, the department of facilities is actively working to eliminate them from campus.
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the geese are relatively harmless. The Pioneer is unaware of any attacks on students or others by the geese. However, the large number of geese on campus tend to leave large quantities of feces all over paths and campus grounds. The HSUS reports that a single goose can defecate every 20 minutes and leave up to 1.5 pounds of feces each day, in addition to an unpleasant sight and smell that can carry harmful bacteria. “Normally, the feces on campus doesn’t bother me,” senior political science major Paul Franco said. “However, one day I was on my way to an interview at a law firm, stepped in the feces, and it was all over my brand-new shoes and the bottom of my suit pants; this is unacceptable,” he added.
Roy Fergus, the director of facilities services, handles this issue along with many others. “The facilities grounds team works to clean/clear pathways and affected areas and as part of our operations; we have engaged and utilize subject matter experts in managing the impact of geese forays on the LIU Post campus,” he said. Fergus did not explain where or how the collected fecal matter was disposed.
Facilities services has retained the Long Island Geese Control to significantly reduce geese sightings on campus. “We have a fully executed contract with Long Island Geese Control, who has expertise in safely and effectively managing the geese problem; I have been advised that this problem will eventually subside,” Fergus said. During the winter break, a Long Island Geese Control car with a dog were seen on the Great Lawn chasing the geese away, according to staff members who were on campus.
Long Island Geese Control, a company located in Smithtown, acts to eliminate the geese. They don’t kill the birds; instead, they use a unique technique where a border collie bred dog chases the geese away for a consecutive amount of visits. The procedure, according to William Alemaghides, the CEO of the company, requires that the dog stays on campus for a few hours a day, several times a week, continuously chasing away the geese until the birds feel like the area is threatened and migrate somewhere else. “The more the geese fear the seeming threat of a potential predator, the less likely they will want to spend time at that location,” Alemaghides said.
To service a university of this size, Alemaghides charges a fee of about $975 per month, with three visits a week. LIU Post has used the services of the Long Island Geese Control sparingly, however, with only two sightings of them at work on campus during the month of January on weekdays. The geese control services have been put into use since the beginning of the fall semester, according to Alemaghides. Yet after each geese-chasing session, the geese were seen, returning, shortly after.
“The dogs do a good job chasing the geese away. But the geese are not stupid,” Barbara Fowles, chairperson of the department of communications and film, said. Fowles’ office faces the Great Lawn, where she has a perfect view of the geese control at work. “A few minutes after the dog leaves, the geese are back. It is not really effective, it is certainly not worth the expense – especially now when people are hardly lolling about on the lawn. The goose poop is disgusting, but they will move on when spring comes, and then the lawn can be cleaned up for the summer. That makes more sense,” she said.
Have you seen less geese and feces on campus this semester? Do the geese bother or delight you? We want to hear from you at email@example.com.