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For the Love of the Geese, A Bitter Divide

Prospect Park wildlife activists may share common goals, but that doesn't mean they want to work together.

Love will tear you apart.

A common fondness for Prospect Park’s wildlife has resulted in a divided front for the groups of activists working to protect the park’s goose population from evils ranging from the to .

Though Prospect Park’s many groups of wildlife activists have a seemingly common goal—to protect the park’s wildlife, and especially its geese—there could not be more contention in how to accomplish that goal.

“None, I repeat none of what she says is true,” wildlife rehabilitator Anne-Katrin Titze wrote in an E-mail, opining that fellow goose lover Johanna Clearfield was “causing a great deal of harm to [the] swans.”

In an E-mail exchange between the two wildlife lovers, forwarded by Titze, the accused berated Titze for “barking a condescending remark” after Titze told the activist to stand down and just leave the park swans alone.

“She is one of the most arrogant of all the wildlife people I’ve had to deal with,” wrote Clearfield of Titze. “I know many wildlife rehabilitators who refuse to speak to her.”

And those familiar with the great rift in the park’s activist community say that the war between the wildlife lovers has greatly detracted from accomplishing any activism.

“Any infighting is going to take away from time that you could be putting into the issue,” said one source familiar with the situation.

The differing factions seemingly disagree on everything from the proper way to help the park’s injured and endangered waterfowl to who to blame for the troubled status of park animal welfare.

In April, Anne Katrin Tizte and Mary Beth Artz, of For the Love of the Geese, even wrote two opposing opinion pieces in the Brooklyn Paper—both arguing to save the geese.

In Titze’s piece she called , the massive pro-geese rally held in the park in March, “folly,” arguing that the event, in which Brooklynites joined hands around the lake in solidarity, was “an empty gesture.”

Artz countered: “The whole — and only — premise of “Hands Around the Lake” is to gather the community together, adults and children alike to promote the absolute importance of wildlife in our lives especially now as we face such turbulent times.”

Both women argued that the community needs to respect its wildlife and rally to protect the park’s geese—but only if you did it their way.

The groups have often even resorted to name calling, and counter attacks.

In E-mail exchanges, some referred to each other as “obsessed with seeing [their] name in print,” “incoherent,” “arrogant” and liars.

“Unfortunately advocacy groups end up splitting and fighting,” said a familiar source. “That’s not uncommon, but it’s always sad.”

ASteinberg August 27, 2011 at 03:36 PM
To All It is quite obvious that the person posting under the initials "mw" (which must stand for miserable and worthless or alternatively, mindless and witless) is a complete idiot who trolls boards like this with his ranting misinformation just to goad people who are actually informed and intelligent and have something of value to say. People like this creep rarely make any real affect on life. He is not active and involved as we are. This is his pitiful life. He probably lives in his mother's basement playing with himself as he types, doesn't date has likely never been on a plane and can't hold a job. People avoid his because he is obnoxious. He has nothing to do but write to columns, and he is ALWAYS the naysayer and disseminator of negative or incorrect facts. He'll probably come back on and tell you he is a bank president or something, who flies all the time, but the fact that he is so ignorant of facts reveals what he really is. He is of no consequence, although he has provided the opportunity for us to make some very good comments to counter his extreme stupidity. At this point, he should be ignored for the cretin loser that he has demonstrated that he is. We all see through him now.
mw August 30, 2011 at 07:10 PM
self-righteousness much?
Johanna Clearfield August 30, 2011 at 07:44 PM
You want the geese dead so our airways are safer? The statistics of any interference with planes is .068% - You are more likely to die from lightning and, according to official reports from the FAA, the most common cause of death and airline crashes is "pilot error." Airplanes have radar that detect flocks of birds, It is only "pilot error" when the pilot fails to monitor. The Mayor also recently approved a garbage transfer station to be built right next to LaGuardia Airport -- This action was highly objected to by the infamous Captain Sullenberger himself - who explained that this kind of city planning is the cause of problems, not geese and other birds. By your logic, we should exterminate every high-flying bird which includes hawks (many on the endangered list), eagles (ditto), gulls, starlings and on and on. The Israeli Avian Controllers have a motto, "We Share the Air" and they have implemented technology easily available to the US which manages air traffic and prevents any "bird strikes." Again, the percentage of any airline incidents due to birds is .068% -- Human error is number one. see: http://www.humanerevolution.org
Marion Ambler August 30, 2011 at 07:58 PM
So what mw? The article is about geese which most of us talked about while you focused on personal rants against the commentators. Expect at some point the personal comments will be aimed at you. The only thing wrong with ASteinberg's comment 'He is of no consequence, although he has provided the opportunity for us to make some very good comments to counter his extreme stupidity.'.....is that some of your 'comments' are too empty to even reply with anything intelligent or informative.
Johanna Clearfield August 30, 2011 at 08:02 PM
Arlene, thanks for your comment and yet, unfortunately -- "mw" is only one of millions of people who have been socialized to value only human life. While this is the message that we all receive through a culture that mass-slaughters billions of animals every day for "food" that doesn't make it right. Human beings are not biologically determined to consume meat -- our back teeth are round and we evolved from hunters to gatherers. - Doctors promote vegetarianism for the improved health and well being of us all. The slaughter-industry is making billions & continues to thrive. How can we have a culture that cares for geese when we live in a madhouse that torturesso many intelligent, sentient creatures every single minute of every single day? mw is only one of the "herd" moving along to the prodding of an industry that violates the divine rights of sentient creatures for profits every single minute of every single day. http://www.farmsanctuary.org/ The blood on our collective hands is horrendous but the least we can do is try to work together (which our local community of "goose-watchers" in fact have and continue to do) and hopefully to make some small life-affirming changes in the near future to prevent the USDA and the other govt. kill-agencies from destroying our prescious wildlife. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7TxCRkHYwo

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