“Over the next week, 20 goats will be grazing on the plant life at Aquinas”
Goats are awesome at doing this. There are people who own herds of goats for this one purpose. They can clear out a massive amount of brush in a short time.
WZZM News reports:
Greatest grazers of all time: Goats help Aquinas College battle invasive species
Aquinas College has set a goal of planting every tree species native to Michigan in the next five years. In order to make room, they first have to eliminate plants like buckthorn and garlic mustard, two of many invasive species.
“They’re really good at taking over areas and displacing these healthy native species,” says Jessica Bowen, the director of sustainability at Aquinas College.
In the past, Aquinas would go through and pick the weeds by hand, and then use an herbicide to kill the remaining weeds. That’s where the goats come in. Over the next week, 20 goats will be grazing on the plant life at Aquinas, specifically to work toward removing the invasive species.
“What’s unique about a goat is that when they eat a seed,” says Garrett Fickle, owner of Munchers on Hooves and supplier of the goats, “their digestive system breaks the seed down to where it doesn’t germinate.”
Bowen has been working on the project for four years, originally running into a roadblock with the city of Grand Rapids.
“The first response we got from the city of Grand Rapids four years ago when I requested this project was ‘This is really exciting’,” Bowens recalls. “‘But there’s no ordinance that spells this out for you, so therefore the answer is no.’”
Four years later, the city finally allowed the goats as a test project, which Bowen hopes will set a precedent moving forward, allowing goats to be used all over the city. While it might end up being good for the city, the real winners are the goats themselves.
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