Goats help get rid of invasive species at Aquinas College

Well, it looks like it’s greener than the alternatives – not to say cuter! Aquinas College is bringing goats to campus this summer to graze on invasive species and brush, in order to remove unwanted plants in a sustainable manner.

Grand Rapids College collaborated with the City of GR and the Urban Agriculture Committee on the project.

Aquinas Chief Sustainability Officer Jessica Eimer Bowen said in a Release,

Sustainability is part of Aquinas College’s identity, and we wanted to find an environmentally friendly way to deal with unwanted growth on campus while being good stewards of our campus and our creek. This project uses sustainable landscape management as an alternative to the use of herbicides and equipment that uses fossil fuels and pollutes the air.

From July 17 to 23, approximately 20 goats will be able to graze in two areas of the campus: the wooded area in front of the academic building and the wooded area between Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel and the Theater Arts Annex, along Coldbrook Creek. . The herd will be joined by Garrett Fickle, co-owner of Munchers on hooves, who will guide them from one plot to another as they munch on weeds and brush.

Now, before you think you’d like to hire these goats to come to your house for weeding, there is currently an ordinance banning goats and other livestock in the city of Grand Rapids. Although this method of controlling invasive species has been used in other areas of Michiganis new in our region. So Aquinas and the Grand Rapids Urban Agriculture Committee worked through all the details to get city approval for this project, which could potentially affect livestock regulations going forward.

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