Fifty-five years ago when I was searching for the best University wildlife biology School I could afford, Cornel’ was right near the top of high quality education schools and right near the bottom (actually not even on the list) of the list of schools I could afford. I chose Utah State University and have never regretted that decision for a moment. Thank you, Utah, for making that school available for me in those years. But back to Cornell.
Over the years, I met numerous Cornell graduates and found them to generally (I know I am stereotyping here) exude attitudes of superiority commonly seen in many Harvard and MIT graduates I have met.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Cornell research and notoriety in the wildlife area steadily mimicked the U of Wisconsin and Berkley publications and reports touting environmental extremism and animal rights nonsense. By the time of my retirement I no longer gave Cornell any thought other than to dismiss what they published or reports about what they were doing.
In 2005, five years after my retirement, I once again encountered Cornell and was astonished at how “far off the tracks” their snobbery and integration with federal bureaucrats had taken them. It seems the USFWS had obtained a “secret” fund of millions of dollars from Congress to “find and document” remaining Ivory-billed Woodpeckers that had recently been seen by “reliable” Southern birdwatchers. It was “secret” (oh how bureaucrats and politicians love such harmless intrigue as they seek to perfect our world in spite of our ignorance and stubbornness) because there was a chance that some ignorant redneck might find and destroy the “last” Ivory-billed Woodpecker (they are still extinct for over 75 years as I write) before federal protection and force could “save” them. Cornell was part of the (publicly-funded but ”secret”) “search and save” expeditions all over the South where their guesses as to where these “ancient” birds that “looked like pintails” (take note Southern woodland duck hunters) as they flew through southern swamps might find suitable habitat for planned federal woodpecker enhancements. Land was bought, land was eased and wooded wetland owners from N. Carolina and Florida to E. Texas were warned that they might one day harbor federally-designated Critical Habitat (yikes) for a bird once thought to be extinct!
When I wrote about this lunacy (if no hunter, trapper, farmer, or rural resident had seen or reported a “giant” woodpecker in 60+ years, the likelihood of federal bureaucrats or Cornell worthies finding even one were nil) I happened to mention how old-timers said the best habitat and draw for those big woodpeckers was a stand of trees purposely girdled and dying as swamps were being cleared for drainage and eventual farming. These trees were infested with insects in and under the bark (thereby drawing in lots of all sorts of woodpeckers from far and wide). I suggested (tongue-in-cheek) they try this old trick to see if there were any Ivory-bills in the neighborhood.
What I got in return from an Ivory-billed Woodpecker “Team Leader” who if memory serves was some sort of Cornell Grad student or Assistant Wildlife Professor was one of the nastier e-mails I ever received and that is saying something. The one “academic and scientific” comment I remember to this day from this person was something to the effect that if I “and my pig-farmer buddies” (oooohhh!) wanted to ruin the world he and science would stop us.
It has been 9 years since that little contretemps with Cornell. This morning, the following news report (below) about Cornell, their campus and deer crossed my desk. Read it and enjoy the humor but consider the sadness of a once great wildlife school and how far it has fallen. It is as if an award winning actor like Laurence Olivier had taken to drink and late one Saturday night years later you turn on the TV and there he is stumbling through a Saturday Night Live skit mumbling his lines to the great amusement of the audience.
Cornell displays the fruits of environmental extremism and animal rights radicalism, and where they lead those that fall for their false values and agenda.
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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
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