Guest Column12/18/08

Take action toward wildlife safety

Dec. 18, 2008

By Amanda Hollick

About a month ago a young deer was hit by a car on Metcalf Drive in Southridge. It had a broken hip and a head injury. The poor deer struggled to get up for about half an hour, continually falling back down on the blacktop.


    Courtesy photo
Amanda Hollick stands next to a deer crossing sign she installed on Metcalf Drive earlier this month. Hollick lobbied the town for two signs on the road after watching a deer suffer when it was hit by a car.

One of my neighbors, Cathy Chappell, made many phone calls to several vets and the game warden to get the deer help. When it was clear that no help was coming, another neighbor had to shoot the deer. Just watching the poor thing trying to get up and get away was horrific. Knowing that the mother was out in the field somewhere watching all of it made me feel terrible inside.

This isn’t the first time deer have crossed Metcalf. They cross frequently during the summer, mostly when it’s dark out, and there have been many close calls where people are just feet from clipping one. I never want this to happen to another deer. I wanted to make people aware that deer cross in that area and that they were here first when we moved in. People have got to slow down when on that road. I decided to take my feelings of sorrow and anger and put them into action.

I went to talk to Neil Boyden, the Public Works director, about putting in deer crossing signs on Metcalf. He was very understanding and supportive of what had happened. About three weeks later, Rick Peet delivered two deer crossing signs to Metcalf and marked out where they would be placed. Now it was my job to put them into the ground.

Early Sunday afternoon on Dec. 7, my father, Shawn, and I went down to Metcalf to start digging the 2 foot deep holes on the sides of the road. My father was the one who used the shovel, sledgehammer and the crowbar, while I used the post hole digger to get dirt out of the hole and occasionally the shovel, too.

The first hole was somewhat easy but rocky for the first 20 inches. Then we came across a huge rock. We spent about an hour and a half trying to get that out. When we finally did, it turned out to be a boulder and the rest of the hole went fairly quickly because of the dry dirt that was under the rock. The second hole went by like a flash.

I felt very proud of myself that I took action and that the signs were finally in their place. I care about animals a lot and I encourage anyone to take action to preserve the animals and their habitat.

Amanda Hollick is a 14-year-old freshman at Champlain Valley Union High School.