Dual Conservation Presentation Celebrates Earth Day at Genesee Community College

Genesee Community College is pleased to host a dual conservation presentation featuring the Seneca White Deer and the local bird banding efforts by Tom Klotzbach, a Senior Telecommunications Manager for SunGard Higher Education. Mr. Klotzbach will present his research and historical information on Tuesday, April 13 from 12:30pm-1:30pm in T119 at the Batavia Campus. Tom has formerly studied the white deer herd of the Seneca Army Depot for several years and has recently become a licensed bird bander. The dual presentation is free and the public is invited to attend.

The first part of the dual presentation will feature the history of the Seneca White Deer, a rare herd of deer living within the confines of the former Seneca Army Depot in Seneca County, NY. Mr. Klotzbach will discuss the history of the herd as well as the military base, population control of the herd, genetics, and conservation efforts. As a former tour guide at the Seneca Army Depot, and also a former board member of the Seneca White Deer, Inc. (a non-profit conservation organization), Mr. Klotzbach is now working on a research project regarding the Seneca White Deer.

When the Seneca Army Depot was created in 1941, a 24-mile fence was erected around approximately 10,000 acres, isolating a small herd of white-tailed deer, some of whom had white coats. With the protection of the fence, the herd inside the depot flourished, but eventually experienced overpopulation and starvation. In the 1950s, a depot commander, Colonel Franklin Kemble, forbid anyone from shooting the white deer during the military hunts. Since then, the white deer herd has been protected and has grown to a size of approximately 200 animals. The depot was officially deactivated in 2000 and has since provided tours of the base for various groups. Currently, the Army is conducting environmental remediation at the depot.

The second part of Mr. Klotzbach’s presentation will feature his bird banding project at Genesee Community College’s Batavia Campus, as well as his work on the western portion of the Ontario State Parkway through the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory. His research project resumes its seasonal active, outdoor effort in the beginning of April at the College where he will once again begin tracking various species of native and non-native birds. There are 30 bird boxes spread over the Batavia Campus that he will voluntarily start checking April 7, 2010 and continue visiting every four to five days through September to track hatching and premature fledging. Tom will band juvenile birds prior to fledging and also catch adults via the use of bird traps to enable the process of collecting and tracking bird data such as age, sex, fat score, and mass following each bird by its unique band number. Ultimately, the data collected is used to study migration patterns with the U.S. Geological Survey, and is the foundation for Tom’s research on nest site fidelity.

Mr. Klotzbach is the author of a research project "Cold War Artifacts: The White Deer of Seneca Ordnance Depot". In the summer he will pursue a graduate history degree from SUNY Brockport, with an emphasis on environmental history in militarized environments. A federal and state licensed bird bander, he participates in the spring and fall banding seasons at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory. For further information about the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory go to www.BBBO.org.

Following the presentations, Mr. Klotzbach will allow for a question and answer period. He is looking to enlist the help of students or other interesting community residents to help with the data tracking process by acting as a scribe.

For further information please contact Tom Klotzbach at 585-590-2022.

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Editor’s Note:
Photographs of the white deer of the Seneca Army Depot and an adult male Tree Swallow bird are available at: