Richmond Review

Snow geese ravage school field in a day

This field behind Quilchena Elementary School was transformed into a muddy mess in a single day when hundreds of snow geese landed on the field.   - Martin Nystad photos
This field behind Quilchena Elementary School was transformed into a muddy mess in a single day when hundreds of snow geese landed on the field.
— image credit: Martin Nystad photos

If you’ve ever wondered what toll the thousands-strong population of visiting snow geese really take on local grass sports fields, Richmond’s Martin Nystad gave a vivid digital illustration courtesy his camera.

He shared his pictures with The Richmond Review this week to demonstrate the one-day impact a massive flock of snow geese took on the field behind Quilchena elementary school.

“While the before pictures were taken a month ago, the field was kept geese free until a few days ago,” Nystad wrote in an e-mail. “The damage was done in one day.”

Last weekend, Nystad photographed hundreds of snow geese who were ripping out chunks of grass for food.

“I was going to be a volunteer in the Richmond city program to use dogs to chase the geese away, but quite frankly, it was doomed to fail before it started,” he said.

The photos show what was once a lush green grass field transformed into a muddy mess unsuitable for sports or children playing, looking as though a men’s rugby team had just played on it and torn the grass apart in patches with inch-long cleats.

“When we saw the mud, that amount of destruction, we were just amazed­—amazed. Incredible that they can just do that so quick,” he said.

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