Image 01 Image 03

Aquinas College Bringing in Goats to Clear Campus of Invasive Plant Species

Aquinas College Bringing in Goats to Clear Campus of Invasive Plant Species

“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.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


The Friendly Grizzly | July 18, 2021 at 10:05 pm

Any complaints from the environmental groups about goat [gas]?

henrybowman | July 19, 2021 at 6:23 pm

I feel for these folks. We have our bermuda lawn areas mowed continuously by a trusty pet burro. Last year, one entire side lawn got overrun by Mexican primrose, which we discovered is not to his taste, and the devil to get rid of. I had landscapers de-thatch the plotj last year, but the seeds just regerminate. I suppose goats are one possible answer, if I can confine them to that one lawn. They’re certainly not hard to get out here.

Goats and sheep are complimentary grazers.

CapeBuffalo | July 25, 2021 at 2:52 pm

It took four years for the “city folks “ to make a decision on goats, just think if this were a critical decision?
City people be so dumb.

    dunce1239 in reply to CapeBuffalo. | July 25, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    It is not city people. It is politicians. Most political positions have zero requirements for previous experience or accomplishments. They are people for the most part that no one in the private sector allowed in any managerial capacity. Very few have ever ran a business or if they did, it failed or they would still be running and growing it.