Sunday, March 6, 2011

Calls of the Geese (2)

As animals in nature prepare for the changes of the season, so too, do we humans sometimes need to consider and prepare for necessary change.   
As mentioned earlier, there is a "Hands Around the Lake" event planned for Saturday, March 26th at the lake in Prospect Park.  (Details on the Facebook pages that will be listed here.)
Prospect Park was of course the epicenter of the goose gassings (and subsequent controversy) last summer.
Not only is Prospect Park more than 7 miles from any airport ("Airline Safety" was offered up as the excuse for the barbaric bird killings), but the clandestine massacre of 368 Canada geese and their goslings occurred in the wee hours of a July morning without any notification to the community.
The "hope" was that no one would notice the hundreds of missing geese and their babies.
Or, if anyone dared to question the sudden disappearance of a big chunk of the park's wildlife, questioners would simply swallow the line that the flightless (due to molting or youth) geese had "flown off to Jamaica Wildlife Refuge."
But, regular park goers and wildlife observers, Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman didn't "buy the hype" so to speak.   Instead, these thankfully sharp nature lovers notified the media.  Subsequently, the New York Times investigated and reported on the goose gassings.  
The rest, as they say, is history.
The Prospect Park goose gassings hit newspapers and TV as far away as England and Japan.  It was big news for many weeks and even months.
In the weeks that followed the PP goose gassings, a vigil was held for the slaughtered birds at Prospect Park and two protests also took place a short time later.   One demonstration across the street from Mayor Bloomberg's townhouse and another one at City Hall.  Between 100 and 200 people showed up for all three events.
A special Facebook page was also born titled, "For the Love of Geese at Prospect Park."
I, along with more than 600 other people signed on to the FB page within a few short weeks.
But, while many people initially sign on to something (especially when in the news), as other events and issues unfold or grab media spotlight, most usually move on.
Myself and a few other people continually posted to the Prospect Park goose page in order to keep it relevant and current. It has been an extremely active page over the past 8 months with more than 700 article and other links.
Even as the specific story died over time in the local press, there were always articles, videos, stories and photos of Canada geese to share, though most of them were unfortunately negative in terms of being about the hunting or harassment of geese and most were not specific to New York City or Prospect Park.
Its actually quite difficult and rare to find upbeat news stories that either extol the geese or quite frankly, are even fair to them.
Since most of the articles and blog entries I posted were not specific to Prospect Park (or sometimes even New York), it is reasonable to conclude that to some degree the page was being somewhat compromised and losing some of its specific focus and purpose --  That of bringing positive change for the geese at Prospect Park.
Its actually a delicate line to stay relevant and current, but still remain true to original focus and purpose.   
With so few blogs and/or articles specific to Prospect Park over the ensuing months, it seemed the choice was to allow the page to go kind of dormant or veer off a bit to other areas and issues relative to the geese.
I suppose there are different perspectives on that question. Personally, I feel it important to keep regular updates to a web, blog or FB page less it fade off to a type of obscurity. 
Still, there is that issue of "relevancy" and remaining true to original purpose.  It can be a slippery slope for web or FB pages to veer off course and lose focus even in the interest of remaining current and active.
As said, its a very thin line and tricky balance.
And so, as the geese heed  those "calls" that propel them to leave the comfortable sites they have hunkered down over the winter, sometimes we humans too, have to heed those calls that compel us to move forward and broaden horizons.
Fact is, that even the highly organized geese often "divide" up into different gaggles to either work on breaking down snow for grass underneath or even when flying.
The geese may fly in huge flocks of 50 or more.   But, the more usual sightings of geese flying (at least around Central Park) are about ten to twenty geese, or sometimes just a few.
They seem to do whatever is best for the overall species survival.
In trying to decide what is "best" for a specific cause survival, I have always felt that unity among groups, organizations and individuals is extremely important.
But, sometimes people can have different perspectives.  And sometimes the circumstances simply call for both, specific focus (such as the Prospect Park goose Facebook page) or more general and wider focus.
 With that in mind, I have decided to create a new Goose Facebook Page that is more general and expansive in what it reports on and shares:
This is not to dilute in any way or draw attention away from the more specific and extremely important Prospect Park goose FB site whose focus is fostering a more humane ethic towards the wildlife in that park and implementing non-lethal goose control methods.  
As noted, Prospect Park has become the epicenter in this entire controversy.  What ultimately occurs at Prospect Park, will probably hold true for other locations, not just in NYC, but elsewhere.  The world is watching PP with regards to the Canada goose drama right now and how the issue ultimately evolves and plays out.  
Both goose pages still "flock together," but focus is ultimately in different parts of the snow and travel can be with different short term destinations.
The focus on the new goose FB  page is to incorporate stories, news articles, videos, photos and blogs from all over pertaining to Canada geese (and to lesser degree, ducks and other waterfowl.)
But, the ultimate goal and destination of both the new and broader FB page as well as the more specifically focused Prospect Park page is to eventually alter false and negative misperception of Canada geese from that of "overpopulated pests" to that of majestic, mysterious, proud and independent navigators of the skies they truly are.  
Canada geese, whose haunting and mystifying calls should never be silenced.  -- PCA

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