The Unfamiliar Northern Invasion

Last Updated April 25, 2016 12:20 p.m. EST


Source: Pixabay, Stock Photo

The United States is covered with Canada Geese. These animals are a special kind of invasive species which can be found virtually everywhere and the knowledge their origins elude most people. A closer examination will uncover unknown characteristics and provide a bigger look at our natural environment.

Us Michiganders are certainly no strangers to invasive species. Our Great Lakes have become infested with zebra mussels. Our wood is overwhelmingly infected with the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. However, one particular species is a special type and doesn’t receive the recognition that the others do, Branta Canadensis, or the Canada Goose.

The Canada Goose is originally native to Alaska, Canada, western Greenland and some northern parts of the United States. Due to their migration patterns, they normally fly south to during the colder months, ranging from central U.S. to northern Mexico. However, lately a large number have taken up permanent residence in the U.S. This makes them unique in the they are somewhat native to certain areas and invasive to others.Below are pictures of Canada Geese I took right around where I live in Livonia, MI.

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“There are many problems that come along with their new found settlement plans.” said Anna Boegehold. “Anytime a species enter a new ecosystem, the dynamics change considerably. Things like food and space are challenged against other species, sometimes a matter of life or death. Resources are scarce and chances are the new species won’t have a predator to cull the numbers, as well as limit resource consumption.”

Ms. Boegehold is a PhD student in the Environmental Sciences department at Wayne State University and her knowledge of the zebra mussels invasion of The Great Lakes gives her insight into the repercussions of having a new species affect the food web.

Specifically to Canada Geese, there are many annoyances people find themselves exposed to around these creatures. One problem is their aggressive behavior, especially around the spring/summer months which are their mating season. They have been known to go after humans if approached. Below is a link on what to do if you’re under attack from a Canada Goose.

Another irritation is the droppings they leave behind. Almost everyone has been to been to an area that seems to be seemingly covered in these small droppings. A single goose can defecate every 20 minutes and up to 1.5 pounds each day. In addition to it just being generally unpleasant, the feces can contain parasites, bacteria, viruses and fungi that may be harmful to our health.

Canada Geese thrive in urban/industrial areas. They are very adaptable and can nest in essentially every environment that meets their weather standards. It is not uncommon to come across a goose in a parking lot or a residential neighborhood. Their aggressive nature and fecal matter is made worse by living so closely to us. Also things like driving and other day to day operations can be effected.

Canada Geese are notorious for making incredibly annoying sounds. Their honking seemingly goes on for as long as they are awake, sometimes deep into the night. Just another unfavorable aspect of them being constantly around us.

The hunting of Canada Geese is somewhat of a strange issue. Like most animals, they can be hunted during specified periods of the year and in certain areas. Michigan is home to tons of game areas and motivated hunters usually undergo little trouble finding one near them. However the problem resides in the fact that a significant population still resides in these urban/residential areas where hunting is of course out of the question.

How do we specifically cull the numbers here  or perhaps move them to a more acceptable area away from the general population? Also how can we differentiate between migratory and nonmigratory Canada Geese? Below is a map with some of the popular game areas pin-pointed around Michigan.

At least you can eat them…

But why are these geese switching from migratorial in the first place? The primary guess is an abundance of food and minimal predators. Up north, the geese were susceptible to bears, wolves, coyotes, eagles and other species. While the U.S. does consist of some of these, the concentration is far lower.

Kyle Kandilian works at the Environmental Interpretive Center at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus. Below is a video interview I conducted with Kyle on the history of the Canada Geese, the problems they have with them on campus and their current status as it pertains to populations and hunting.

Robert Brown works at the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, specifically Kensington, and deals with Canada Geese regularly. Below is an interview with Robert where he talks about DNR policy, geese health hazards and population control.

The Canada Goose flies under the radar when it comes to common knowledge of U.S. pests. While they are a mixed bag when it comes to aesthetic appeal, the problems they now cause with their permanent residency is something we are not fully prepared for yet. While everyday people may not be aware of this, the issue is on forefront of environmental organizations.

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Book Reflection: Going Viral by Karine Nahon and Jeff Hemsley

Last Updated April 5, 2016 7:34p.m. EST

Source: Book Review: Going Viral by Karine Nahon and Jeff Hemsley. Nikki Soo

The whole concept of viral content means different things to different people. Most see it as a source of entertainment while others condemn it for being a example of human’s connection to every other person on the planet. This book tries to formulate a criteria for what gives information virality, as well as the biological tendencies our species has to this content.

Virality was defined as…”A social information flow process where many people simultaneously forward specific information over a short period of time, within their social networks, to other distant networks, resulting in sharp acceleration in the number of people who are exposed to the message.”

This is a definition I can definitely get behind however reading on I found their definition to be inconsistent and the criteria changed.

One part that constituted a disagreement on my part was their stance on memes. According to them all memes did not qualify as viral because the context of the meme can change. The example they used was Lt. Pike who pepper sprayed some activists from the Occupy Movement.

Source: Lt. John Pike UC Davis Pepper Spray Victims Filing Lawsuit, Lalate News

This is a popular meme that had been dubbed throughout the years.The context does change significantly as illustrated from the original above and the parody below, however the integrity of the original idea lives on through these remixes. The scientific definition they use is not the one society follows. To most of us, this is viral.

Source: Lt. Pike Pepper Sprays Everything!,

Other concepts like gatekeepers were discussed as well. Gatekeepers are information barriers between information senders and receivers that decide what is allowed to pass through and reach social networks. Facebook is a popular example because of it’s widespread use. Facebook has a big say in what information gets posted and how far it’s allowed to travel. When cases of information censorship/deletion doesn’t occur, they can rank information and position certain things high or low on people’s news feeds.

Other honorable mentions in regards to concepts include; weak ties, information overload and it’s role in traditional vs social media, Sigmoid Curve and the slow-fast-flow model, among others. Overall I did think this book was an interesting read and it comes highly recommended. Some things don’t resonate with people when make things into a scientific formula.It was sort of tough to comprehend this perspective but nonetheless interesting.

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Reflection on the Nine Ethical Questions of Online Journalism and Social Media

Last Updated March April 2, 2016 11:56 p.m. EST

Source: Teodoraturovic

Ethics, while being a completely subjective concept, are something everyone must follow if they want to function correctly in society. The collective agreement of right and wrong is applied to all actions of everyday life. As a public relations student it’s import to familiarize oneself of proper online journalism and social media ethics. Below are the nine ethical questions one must ask themselves before utilizing these tools.

1. Can journalists use social networks to express opinions or advocate for causes?

Journalists can use social networking as a platform to post their opinions/advocate causes as long as the employer is always considered. It does seem like a grey area because restricting what a journalist says is always going to be looked at as censorship.

However, today people are constantly losing their jobs for saying things that conflict with their employers. As a journalist, I feel part of the job is to be a representative and thus should conduct themselves to a specific set of guidelines. Having separate professional and personal accounts is a good way to sort of widen the gap between the two.

2. What about retweeting, reposting or reblogging the opinions of others? Is that an acceptable practice for a journalist, and if so, how should it be handled?

Reposting, reblogging or retweeting is again sort of a grey area. The benefit of it is that it uses an outside source that takes responsibility for the content being sent out. Some people may subconsciously absolve themselves from the actual message, claiming that it isn’t them that is saying these things but someone else.

The negative side of things is that it still attaches a message to the person reposting, reblogging or retweeting. In a way it’s endorsement, which as illustrated above, may conflict with a person’s current employment.

3. Is it wise for a journalist to get in angry exchanges with the public on social networks?

Journalists should avoid getting involved in arguments with others over social networks at all costs. Any problems should be handled privately through email or other 1-1 communication channels. The internet has become a breeding ground for mindless negative communication. Trolls can’t be reasoned. It’s usually in the journalist’s best interest to avoid negative online confrontation.

4. To what degree is a journalist required to identify himself when using a social network?

A journalist should always identify themselves over social networks, especially on their professional accounts. I don’t agree with the exception of investigative reporting, which says identifying yourself is not always required. This exception isn’t clearly defined enough and can easily be abused.

5. What level of verification is needed for a journalist to share news over social?

Verification of news is flexible if the proper attribution is given. What makes this ethical is whether the reader can reasonably be aware of where the source came from/credibility from the shared news. It may be negatively impacting if rumors/information is shared from an unconfirmed/unreliable source. Try to share information from organizational confirmed accounts and reliable people.

6. Are there safety or security issues to consider when posting on social networks?

There are several safety aspects to take into account when using social networks. Make sure posted material doesn’t release information on where to find people. It’s a crazy world and there are a lot of people that want to do who know s what to informants. Also going back to negative online confrontations, antagonizing someone could raise safety problems.

7. Is it OK for a journalist to friend or follow a source?

It is usually acceptable for journalists to friend/follow sources. Keeping tabs on sources is part of the job.Sometimes an impartial employer will require someone to follow both the opposing side of the source. Whichever way, this is an important way to keep up to date on currently occurring issues.

8. Should any social network postings be considered private, necessitating permission before quoting them?

The general rule is nothing on social media is private. Using privacy settings is not full-proof and such safeguards should not be completely relied on. Some conservatives feel contacting the source and informing them of the quote is ethical. This ensures the quote accurately reflect’s the person’s tone/intentions.

9. What’s an ethical way to correct errors made on social networks?

Avoiding errors at all costs is the ideal approach for journalists. Telling themselves that they can edit the post if errors arise is lazy and harms their credibility. The best course of action is to create a new post with the right information and also noting the inaccuracies of the previous one while also leaving it up. When editing posts (like on Facebook), include what changed and why.

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