With increasing habitat fragmentation, the loss of natural predators, and continual expanding of roadways, The New York D.O.T., is faced with the disposal of 25,000 deer carcasses a year from motor vehicle collisions. Traditional methods of disposal––incineration and mass graves, have become prohibitive due to cost and environmental concerns. However, a more viable and practical alternative has become available. Deer composting. “Reclaimed,” considers the practice of deer composting performed by the Department of Transportation in Ulster County NY, which composts over 800 deer carcasses a year.
Deer composting begins with layering the deer carcasses on a bed of wood chips. The pile is regularly rotated, and refreshed with new compost. Over time the carcasses biodegrade, and are generated into a stable soil compound. The newly amended soil––fertile and recycled, is then used to re-landscape the highways.
“Reclaimed” illustrates the conflict between nature and humankind, and addresses the challenge of implementing solutions that are in harmony with our environment.
I'd like to thank the D.O.T of Uster County, for generously allowing me access to their facility and yard. Special thanks goes to Mike Augustine, and to Phil Timbrouck and his team, for without their help and support, this project would not have been possible. During the making of this project, I've become aware of the many challenges the highway department is faced with every day in keeping our roadways safe. Thank you for all you do.