Terri Bleck doesn't typically approach random strangers — she's a little on the shy side, she said — but lately she's been operating outside her comfort zone for a larger cause.
The Madison woman occasionally can be found handing out trading cards to children and chatting up their parents at Vilas Park, part of her one-woman "Don't Feed the Geese" campaign.
The trading cards she developed have photos of waterfowl and messages such as, "I'm a Canada goose gosling and it's important that I eat only green vegetation and grain."
She also created 20 geese-shaped signs with messages on them that the city has agreed to install around Vilas Park in the coming days.
Bleck, 52, lives in the neighborhood and recently served on a city advisory group that studied the waterfowl problem at Vilas Park. This is her way of trying to head off another round of geese killings, she said.
The city had about 210 geese killed earlier this summer as part of its effort to reduce geese poop in parks and on beaches.
"Feeding them makes them more urbanized and more dependent on people," Bleck said. "They expect it and become more aggressive."
Bleck works full time at American Family Insurance and is completing a one-year program in sustainability leadership at Edgewood College. The education effort is her final project.
In addition to the trading cards and signs, she created a website at goosepoop.wordpress.com.
"I love that it's a very hands-on, grass roots way to educate people," said Tyler Leeper, owner of Wingra Boats.
He was one of four businesses — along with Pasqual's restaurant, Hair Studio & Day Spa and Orange Tree Imports — that donated money to print hundreds of the trading cards. Each has a $2-off rental coupon for Wingra Boats.
Bleck said she's troubled by a seeming rebound in the number of geese at Vilas Park in the weeks since the 210 were removed.
Parks spokeswoman Laura Whitmore said the geese's return was not unexpected, as geese regain their ability to fly by early August after summer molting and look for feeding grounds.
She praised Bleck's efforts and said city employees will continue to employ a range of geese management tools.