The beaver situation


While I appreciate the CynicÕs attention to the issue of UVMÕs handling of the beavers in the Centennial Woods retention pond, I was disappointed by the unnecessary antagonistic tone that the article took toward the University and to find myself misquoted in Ben PlotzkerÕs recent article, ÒMelvinÕs Murder.Ó

Since the decision to kill trap the beavers became public knowledge, the University has handled the situation admirably, listening to voices in the community, responding by pulling the kill traps, hosting a meeting with experts on alternative solutions.

And, it would appear, that they are actively exploring the more effective and more humane methods of dealing with the beavers in the retention pond.

My primary hope in drawing attention to the kill trapping was to assert the importance of community voice in the ongoing management of Centennial Woods Ñ whether weÕre talking about the 65-acre designated natural area or the ecological and cultural boundary of the woods that includes the retention pond and another 80 acres of woodland and wetland.

I am encouraged that UVM responded to the community input on the issue of kill trapping and hope that in the future, the University is proactive rather than reactive in opening a dialogue with community members in sensitive cases such as this.

Additionally, I did not state that UVM grounds personnel were Òmaking fun of meÓ as Ben quoted me, but that they had been recorded on my game cam speaking with Rick Paradis, Natural Areas manager and UVM police saying that I was acting as a renegade, that I had exaggerated my affiliation with the University, and that the beavers were a threat because they could carry rabies, an extremely rare occurrence which has never been documented in Vermont.

The problem with these statements was not that they belittled me, but that they reflect a profound misunderstanding of the communityÕs response to the beaver issue as well as to the dangers, or lack thereof, that the beavers posed.

On a lighter note, while I have crawled in other abandoned beaver lodges, IÕve never been inside this one and would have needed a snorkel to get access to the entrance.




Teage OÕConnor

Naturalist Educator