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Camera donation to boost safety at Stanley Park duck pond

Date: 12/27/2011

Dec. 28, 2011

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — The senseless death of Ozzie, the Muscovy duck that had captured the hearts of patrons of Stanley Park’s duck pond, is ultimately making the spot safer for wildlife and visitors alike.

On Dec. 20, Robert McKean, managing director of Stanley Park, showed off a new 24-hour camera system being installed around the pond, courtesy of Westfield-based information technology service provider Mobius Works.

“We’ve been talking with Bob about this for years,” Edward Watson, founder and CEO of Mobius Works, told Reminder Publications. “The Ozzie thing just galvanized it.”

The initial instillation, which includes three cameras with infrared nighttime capability, mounting hardware and wireless software to transmit the images to the park ranger’s office, cost approximately $12,000.

The three high-definition cameras broadcast color images during the day and easily readable black-and-white images at night. Mobius provided the cameras and necessary hardware at no cost; a $2,000 donation from Westfield Bank and a total of $3,300 in donations from children and other park patrons covered the cost of such things as the recording equipment and computer monitors.

“The cameras are here for safety,” Watson said. “[Mobius Works Service Manager] John [Bowen] and I live in Westfield. We’re here every spring and fall for soccer and lacrosse with our kids.”

He noted that the cameras were the latest technology and that the company “spared no expense” in the installation.

“People don’t realize the quality of the [camera] images these days,” Bowen observed. “If someone does something, they are going to get caught.”

McKean, who showed this reporter the crisp images from the pond area on two monitors at his desk, said the park is contemplating making the camera feed available to the public on its website. He said once the recording equipment is installed, which he said should take place after the holidays, the park might experiment with online feed. at

McKean added the park hopes to expand the camera system in the future, installing units at the larger pond, the Carillon Tower and the children’s play area. The play area feed will not be available online, but will be monitored by park rangers “for safety,” he said.

Individuals interested in donating to the fund established in Ozzie’s memory, which is being used to create the camera network, can send their donations, marked “Ozzie’s Fund,” to: Stanley Park 400 Western Ave.,Westfield, MA 01085.

The park had previously installed cameras in other areas, and since the Ozzie incident has also upgraded the training for park rangers. It has also begun working with a community watch group that patrols the park.

“Sometimes people do bad things to people and animals,” McKean observed. ”We’re going to try to do a positive thing in Ozzie’s memory.”

Ozzie was found dead at the pond on Nov. 11. A 15-year-old local teen has been apprehended in the incident and charged with cruelty to animals and killing a domesticated animal by Westfield Police.

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