For a 20-day period over the next few weeks, a herd of goats will be employees of the Oregon School District, eating invasive species in the recently-established 3.5 acre school forest. Non-native plants, such as buckthorn, honeysuckle, and garlic mustard are on the menu!
School districts across Wisconsin have established school forests as a way to preserve important habitats and to teach students how to be good stewards of the state’s natural resources. To open up space for native plants to thrive, it’s out with the old before in with the new.
Humans just aren’t as productive as the goats at eliminating the unwanted species. According to the school district, “[Using goats] reduces the need for chemicals, minimizes erosion risks, and makes it easier to access difficult terrain.” The goats eat an average of 8 pounds of vegetation and graze between 12-16 hours each day. Many mouths make light work.
The 20-30 goats calling the school forest their temporary home are owned by Living Land Management, of Monroe. Living Land Management transports the herd, ensures they have access to fresh water and essential nutrients, and keeps the goats in the target area with electric fencing.
While students and community members may spy the goats at work from the main path, which remains open, much of their work will likely be out of public view. The school district will be holding a Meet a Goat event to raise awareness of the efforts, and for the community to get its goat viewing in before the goats begin duty.
Read more about the Oregon Middle School Forest Restoration on its website.
Thanks to Erika Mundinger of the Oregon School District for sharing this tail!