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Stay back: Mother Nature visits Chemeketa

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The area is cordoned off to protect a mother duck who is sitting on her eggs in one of the parking islands on the Salem campus.

BY BRAD BAKKE

As new life emerges, we must sometimes stop for a moment and remember that we can be big and scary.

Chemeketa has a momma duck sitting on eggs on an Island in the Green Parking Lot. The plea from college officials is simple: Please do not disturb her while she is caring for her eggs.

“I’m a little hesitant to put this out because I don’t want to cause the problem we are trying to avoid,” Bill Kohlmeyer, Chemeketa’s director of public safety, said in a recent employee notice.

“She has already drawn some curious folks who I’m sure have no ill intentions but could scare her off.”

If that’s not enough to get your attention, keep in mind that laws are involved.

“It’s against federal and state law to bother her in any way. Too many people stopping by could cause her to abandon the nest or the babies”, Kohlmeyer said. “She couldn’t have picked a busier spot.

“As tempting as it might be to go look, please avoid the area if possible and advise others to do the same.”

To help with the situation, college officials have called Turtle Ridge Wildlife Rescue.

“We … were advised to tape off the area and put some warning signs up, so that’s what we have done,” Kohlmeyer said. “The gestation period is two weeks, and once they hatch, she will hopefully move them to somewhere with less traffic.”

This isn’t the first time that Mother Nature has visited the Salem campus.

“In 2008 we had a similar situation. We had a mother duck and her hatchlings just north of Bldg. 22,” Kohlmeyer said. When the news spread around campus, “a lot of people were checking them out.

“The mother duck ended up being scared off. We had to call a wild life resuce organization to come in and save the hatchlings before they all died. We really don’t want that to happen again.”

Kohlmeyer asked that students and staff advise Public Safety officials if you see anyone bothering the mother duck and her eggs.

The Public Safety office is located in Bldg.2-172 and can be contacted at 503-399-5023.

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