I am a concerned citizen of Oak Park. The trustees of River Forest will receive a recommendation to cull the deer of Thatcher Woods soon (I believe that is coming around May 10). I have been following diligently the whole deer management public board discussions for the past 1.5 years and I am very concerned on a few different levels.
I really hope you will urge the public to listen to the public hearings that happened throughout last year and this year since they will give you a good idea of what is going on during those public meetings. From the very beginning, the committee seemed extremely rigged to me.
I personally believe this particular committee was appointed with a particular agenda and the agenda is to cull the deer. Even the report itself is incorrect and biased on a few points. For example, the report used for the formal “cull” recommendation clearly states that the majority of the RF people want to cull the deer.
However, the way the report summary information is presented by the rigged committee is incorrect. For instance, survey question #13 asked if there was deer overpopulation and if the people of RF would like the deer removed. While some of the people did vote for the cull, there were many (majority actually) who (even though they might have agreed that there is an overpopulation) did not want to cull the deer but wanted to explore various other options that could decrease the population or help the village with the deer population.
The majority of the survey respondents do not want the deer killed. But the recommendation and summary report says that the majority of the RF people do want a cull, which is misleading.
The report/recommendation that you will receive lumps all of those responses to question 13 as “cull.” You can listen to the recording that happened last night at the deer management meeting and you will hear exactly what I mean. Second, the deer management members who resigned were advocating for educating the residents about the deer as well as what type of plants are deer resilient, etc. The “rigged” committee dismissed those education requests. Third, throughout all of the research and meetings that I have listened to (countless hours), nowhere did I see or hear of a survey that was done by a professional forest preserve specialist to actually establish the deer count vs. square footage of Thatcher Woods where they reside. Don’t you think that before actually culling the deer, there should be an actual fact establishing that there is an overpopulation of deer? Did anyone ever count the deer? The answer is no.
I am urging residents to please take a close look into the survey results and think for yourself. I also want Oak Park residents to get involved in this decision and it should not only be a decision of one suburb. There are many other suburbs using the woods and enjoying the deer.
The cull decision is biased from the very beginning. The data is misrepresented, and there is no professional data to support an overpopulation. It is simply a few individuals pushing their own agenda through the system using their connections.
Lena Georgiev is an Oak Park resident.