New remedy for geese?

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake Central School District is trying another weapon in its ongoing war against an invasion of geese.

For many years, Canada geese have frequented the school fields in the village and left behind their droppings, raising a concern over potential health effects for school children.

Vernon James, the director of facilities for the district, plans to put it to a stop. He is buying a geese deterrent system that he says may do the trick.

“There must have been 100 geese back in August,” said James, who became the facilities director this past summer. “Parents complain about their kids out on the field wallowing around in the goose poop.”

The product is non-lethal, according to a sales flyer. It looks like a small yard post with a light on the top. It cost $4,300. The Kentucky company sells its product at

A representative said in sales material that the deterrent system’s flashing amber light disrupts the geese’s sleep pattern and emulates the eyes of a predator.

“After a few nights of restless sleep the geese simply leave!” The flyer states. “We guarantee it or your money back!”

James said the offer may be too good to be true, but he is optimistic – and the money-back guarantee was one of the reasons he decided to go with the product.

“That’s why I’m interested,” James said.

James said the devices will be placed at both the high school and the Petrova Elementary-Saranac Lake Middle School. At the high school, the devices will be placed in the field at the track, and waterproof devices will be placed in the nearby pond. At Petrova, they will be placed around the athletic fields.

The school district and village of Saranac Lake have attempted many different products in the past to deal with the problem.

“They did shadow cut-outs of wolves that were supposed to be a deterrent to the geese,” James said, referring to failed village remedies. “They put orange tape along the waterways.”

James said the orange tape worked for a few weeks, from what he heard, but it wasn’t a permanent fix. Non-lethal chemicals were also used on the school fields to make the grass taste bad. That didn’t work either.

“We’ve spent a lot of money over the years,” James said. “It’s been a very long, drawn-out process.”

In 2011, the school board approved of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division killing geese on practice fields.

But after some local outrage the board backed out of the decision, choosing instead to purchase a goose poop scooper called the Nature Sweep. The nearly $10,000 device attaches to the back of a tractor and cleans the poop off the field.

James said the sweeper worked pretty well but it takes time and manpower to use.

The new devices are expected to arrive in two or three weeks, just in time for the geese.

“It may or it may not work,” James said.

And if it doesn’t, there is always the money-back guarantee.