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College Accepts Recommendation toProceed with Deer Cull

Following extensive consultation, Swarthmore College has accepted a recommendation made by the Crum Woods Stewardship Committee (CWSC) and will proceed with plans to help restore the ecosystems of the Crum Woods through an organized deer cull beginning in the winter of 2008/09. The cull will be conducted by trained personnel at pre-approved sites and would most likely occur over the College's Winter Break in December, 2008, during night-time hours. The College will now reach out to Swarthmore Borough and Nether Providence Township to amend an ordinance to allow shooting on College property in these respective areas. If the ordinance amendments are approved, the College will request that the Borough and Township apply, on behalf of the College, to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for a deer removal permit. Other nearby communities that have adopted this deer cull technique include the Wissahickon Valley, Pennypack, and West Fairmount parks.

Seven years ago, the CWSC, comprising faculty, students, and staff, was formed to create a protection, restoration, and stewardship plan for the woods. In spring 2001, the CWSC commissioned Natural Lands Trust and Continental Conservation to prepare a Conservation and Stewardship Plan to provide recommendations that would secure the woods' long-term health and viability and identify any potential hazards or concerns. In 2003, when the plan was completed, Natural Lands Trust and Continental Conservation concluded that an overabundance of deer headed the list of factors threatening the woods. Excessive deer browsing is severely limiting the ability of the forest to regenerate naturally and altering the structure and composition of the forest.

The recommendation to control the population of deer in the Crum Woods through a deer cull followed several more years of research and a full examination of all possible options. The CWSC set out to understand how best to reduce the deer population to a sustainable size in a safe, humane, forest-science-based, and socially responsible manner. Following a public discussion of this proposal in 2007, the CWSC offered its recommendation of a deer cull to the Board of Managers in December, 2007 and to the campus community in February, 2008 and then held open forums for students, faculty and staff. The full text of the CWSC recommendation can be found here. An FAQ also exists on the site and will be updated with new information as it becomes available. Questions or concerns about this issue can be sent to