A special message from PAD Co-Founder, Mary Ann Baron:
You may be asking who I am, where did I come from and why do I care about the white tailed deer in the Wissahickon Valley. I have been a resident of Chestnut Hill for over 20 years, and formerly a Mt. Airy resident.
Living on the perimeter of the Wissahickon Park, I am privileged to see deer early every day in my backyard. I have lived peaceable with the deer, developing deer resistant gardens, and not putting up fences or other devices to keep them off our property. I am a firm believer that we are on the deer’s property since development of houses has taken away their homelands. The deer are being blamed for disturbing the park biosphere, when people are by far more impaction. It is the humans who are out of control, not the deer. As residents of neighborhoods we are responsible for what happens in our communities, and the inhumane killing of deer has been happening for the past twelve years. This is an ethical issue that has been ignored by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation as well as the neighbors of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and other surrounding communities
The late fall is a difficult time for me since that is when for the past 12 years, although the public was initially told that the “cull” would be a one-time-only event, it has continued from 2001 to the present, with no signs of stopping. . When the yearly slaughter of the deer occurs. I become frustrated and don’t understand neighbors who turn a blind eye to the killing in the park and see it as another indication of the need to educate people about the inhumane treatment of the deer. As residents of neighborhoods we are responsible for what happens in our communities, and the inhumane killing of the deer is an important ethical issue that has been ignored.
Previously I was active in Friends of Fairmount Park Animals, which was a dynamic group of folks, and have written letter to editor in various publications.
I had consulted with Jim Harris who suggested I apply to be on the board of Parks and Recreation, which could be a way to give a voice to the deer problem. In September, 2009 I sent my credentials and letters of recommendation to the Parks and Recreation to be considered to be on the board but was not accepted. In December 2009, I sent a letter to Michael DeBerardinis, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation asking for a meeting with him about the deer kills, but this meeting was denied.
I then read about the work done by Friends of Animals, an international group working with animals and that a deer hunt in Valley Forge Park has been temporarily stopped by them. I contacted FOA and met Lee Hall and Matt -(both staff members of FOA) over dinner, along with Bridget, a longtime friend and activist, and formed a collaboration with them. I have much to learn from Lee and Matt in their work at Valley Forge Park and how they were able to achieve what they did. This collaboration led to me approaching Jim Harris, a writer of the Chestnut Hill Local, who agreed to meet with us about PAD and resulted in a fantastic article in the local paper. Thus our first public meeting was planned.