By : Nick Sisti
Taking a stroll through the foliage-filled campus of County College of Morris, one will likely become acquainted with the various forms of wildlife that roam the area.
Most noticeable are the campus geese, who cross the sidewalks and accompany students on their way to class. Some students feel that the presence of the creatures adds to the aesthetic of the campus, while others are indifferent.
“Just this week, a bunch of geese were crossing from the student center,” said Tatiana Campiglia, a communication major at CCM. “There were at least 10 of them. It was cool to see because they were so comfortable doing it. They weren’t scared of any of the students. All of the students were waiting as if there were a stop sign, and it was the geese’ green light. I like having so many animals on campus. They’re all part of the school in a weird way.”
Students learned first-hand that nesting geese can be violently protective.
“This past spring, we had a nesting in lot eight,” noted John Fichter, assistant director of Public Safety at CCM. “We actually had to tape off the area because the male would be aggressive to people who got too close to the nest.”
Typically when this happens, the Department of Public Safety does what they can to preserve the area. However, if it occurs in areas where there is too much foot traffic to adequately contain it, they’ll call for outside help.
“We’ve had a few [nestings] closer to the school, and in those instances, the Randolph Animal Control would get involved,” Fichter said. “We haven’t really had any issues with animals in the buildings, other than a stray dog once.”
Some students are tolerant of the geese yet remain largely indifferent to them.
“I don’t resent their presence, but most of what they add to the campus would be … poop,” said Dr. Phil Chase, English professor at CCM.
Though it may appear a bit less prominent on the surface, an entire ecosystem of critters exists alongside the geese. “I’ve seen groundhogs by the tennis courts and also some sort of a hawk, which will swoop down while I’m playing tennis as if I’m in his territory or something,” Chase said. “Don’t try to approach the groundhogs. … They’re pretty vicious.”
However, Jacob Kokoshka, a biology major at CCM, sees the groundhogs in a different light.
“I like seeing them around,” he said. “My friends and I will often take Snapchats of them. We’ve even named some of them. … The one that hangs out by Cohen Hall, his name is Henry. There’s another one that lives by the library, but we haven’t come up with a name for him yet.”