Geese are a consistent presence in Stateline parks, many of them consider Martin and Shorewood Park their home. However, they can leave a pretty big mess. For the past fifteen years the Rockford Park District has relied on man’s best friend to keep them away, this special someone is border collie Jett.
Jett, along with the Rockford Park District Goose Management Team are making geese less of an issue. “The larger the population, the more goose droppings we’re going to have” said Veto Santini, Goose Management Program Volunteer Coordinator. Jett and Rockford Park District Dog Handler, Haley Camillo, spend their days controlling the large population in parks across the district. “Jett’s job is to come out with me twice a day and go on our route, and we take him to about 25 different Rockford Park District Parks, and we just have him get out of the truck” Said Haley. “He gets out, goes, chases the geese away, I mean, it’s usually as simple as me opening the gate and they fly away.”
Along with the daily route of Jett and Haley, the Goose Management team also has some high tech tricks that keep the geese at bay. “We have a variety of different harassment tools that we use” said Santini. “We have a coyote replica, we have a dog that’s a silhouette, we also have strobe lights, they find that very annoying. We also have a remote control boat we use for when they go into the water”.
Jett is a seasoned veteran when it comes to goose management and does well at his job. Jett however, is 14 years old and is blind. The Park District has a lot of ground to cover and is looking for more dogs to help the cause. “To be really successful we need a really large quantity of dogs involved” said Laura Gibbs-Green, Public Relations Manager of The Rockford Park District. “That seems to be one of our best ways to move and migrate the geese is dogs, and so the more the merrier”.
To volunteer and become a part of the Goose Management Team you can visit RockfordParkDistrict.org/volunteer or call 815-987-8847