Nature provides many things to Shenandoah in its spring awakening: plants, flowers and the annual migration of Geese on campus. Although their arrival is welcome by some, for others it becomes a minor irritation to be contended with.
“They’re just a pain,” said Hailee Wick, 19. “Like I feel like they’ll chase me down if I look at them the wrong way.”
Canada Geese are migratory. Those that make their way to our campus are transient, dropping here along the way to rest during their migration north back to Canada, where the climate is milder, according to Barry Schnoor, Shenandoah’s physical plant director.
“We don’t typically see a lot of geese here from October through February,” Schnoor said. “During the spring migration, geese will stop here. If they are from a brood who hatched here, this will be their mating spot for the rest of their lives.”
A common problem for geese on campus is poop; it causes a messy situation for sidewalks, grass and other walking areas, and it tends to sometimes cause a disturbance among students and staff.
“The geese aren’t a huge issue to me,” said Caitlyn Graulau, 19. “A minor inconvenience, if anything. They have every right to be here as we do. The only thing that bothers me about them is their poop. It’s literally everywhere. Whenever I give tours, I always have to warn visiting families, ‘Watch your step!’ Always through Sarah’s Glen, by the way. I feel safe around them as long as I keep my distance.”
Schnoor said he gets some complaints about the amount of geese poop on the sidewalks, adding that the typical geese poops every eight minutes.
“Geese poop isn’t particularly dangerous to otherwise healthy people, unless it’s inhaled or ingested,” Schnoor said. “Stepping in it isn’t considered a significant health hazard, although it’s pretty disgusting.”
Yet despite the mess, there are those on campus who aren’t bothered by the geese’s annual presence. “Oh, well I don’t mind them,” said Anthony Salazar, 19. “I know sometimes people say they are mean, but they never bugged me before or anything.”
Although they tend to cause a disturbance on campus, the geese definitely symbolize the arrival of spring.