by Cathy Shisler
Fourth of July was a great weekend. Our annual parade had a great turnout, and one local said he thinks there were more participants in the parade than he has ever seen! Congrats to the winners of the costumes as well as Sister Grace, who was this year’s Grand Marshall!
Let’s talk about something serious for a minute: When you think of Davis Park, you think of our many deer that you have watched and gotten to know as they raised their fawns over the years. If you haven’t heard, The National Park Service is considering ways to reduce the population of deer on Fire Island. How do you feel about it?
The National Park Service wants to use a combination of hunting, birth control and fencing certain areas to reduce the number of white-tailed deer on Fire Island. An estimated 300 deer live within the Fire Island National Seashore boundaries, and park officials say the deer are threatening historical plants and shrubs.
They have released a 480-page Deer Management Plan that outlines a number of alternatives to manage the deer population. Their preferred choice is to cull the deer herd to about 20 to 25 deer per square mile, and then maintain the herd through approved contraception. Davis Park residents have their own deer stories to tell, from being moved by charming fawns that were born in the spring that grew up over the summer to cultivated flower beds devoured in a single afternoon! Then there is the noise of rattling garbage cans in middle of the night, and looking out the window to see deer eating leftovers in the can. Some residents have found flowers the deer do not like, and if garbage is disposed of securely then midnight raids are less of a problem.
I recently saw a young group of people taking “selfies” with a deer. They probably posted it on Instagram. Like one of our residents often says, “They think they’re like characters in a Disney movie.” It is not a Disney movie, but if there is a way to use these humane ways to reduce the deer population, instead of hunting I think we should agree it should be used.
An article I read stated that the residents and visitors of Fire Island regard the deer as living a peaceful coexistence with the wildlife and a unique and enchanting experience. This is the Disney fantasy again. However Fire Island National Seashore has tried in the past to do the “hunt,” but it failed in a storm of controversy.
Residents researched and found an effective and humane alternative to keep the deer from giving birth. They engaged a team of scientists and the Humane Society of the United States to conduct a PZP immunocontraceptive project that kept the deer from fawning and helped reduce the population. However years later the younger deer that were not vaccinated are giving birth.
This past February, a group of protesters took to Fire Island National Seashore’s Patchogue headquarters to express their dissatisfaction of the final report released in the prior month. The protesters were hoping to pressure federal officials to pursue only non-lethal methods, even though the final plan allows for both. Hurricane Sandy drowned hundreds of deer in October of 2012, which reduced the population. Let’s look at it as this – Fire Island isn’t like out east in Montauk or the Hamptons where the deer are interacting with cars. There is a way of creating a balanced ecosystem.
The Davis Park Fire Department is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year. Show your support and head down to the Fire Department to buy the anniversary tee shirt. While you are there, purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win a handmade anniversary quilt to keep you warm on those cool summer nights.
Don’t forget that free blood pressure screenings are being offered at Bedside Manor, on July 21, and Aug. 4 and 18, at 5 p.m.
Also check out the story times at the Post Office/Bookstore. While there, pick up your form for the Sand Castle/Sand Sculpture Contest, which will be held on the ocean between the Casino and Windward Walk, on Saturday, July 30. (Rain date: July 31.) You can also get the entry form by going to www.davispark.org or sign up that morning from 9:30-10 a.m. at the contest site. Judging begins at 1 p.m. All sculptures must be family friendly please!
If you haven’t already, on Friday evenings, at 7:30 p.m., please join us for yoga at the church deck. Please come with $15 for the class; we do have some mats, but you might wish to bring your own. Till next time!
Write Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org with any news or happening you wish to see mentioned in her column.