1000 Islands Environmental Center is trying a new strategy to combat invasive plant species. Some say it’s economical, others say its conservational, but almost all can agree it’s downright cute.
“One of our volunteers came in and said I have an idea on how we can deal with the buckthorn, what if we brought goats in?” said Naturalist, Debbie Nowak.
Nine goats were donated by Mulberry Lane Farm in Hilbert to hoof it through a half acre of property and simply eat. Goats are known to eat just about anything, and they’re being put to work at 1000 Islands because they can digest woody plans and even process toxins.
Nowak says they will attack invasives like buckthorn, honey suckle, garlic mustard, creeping Jenny, and poison ivy. Those plants can grow uncontrolled and choke out native plant species.
“We discovered that this has become a pretty common practice using animals like goats that will be able to eat on those invasive species and help control the population of the plants on the property,” said Nowak.
Using goats will let the Kaukauna nature center avoid using harsh chemicals or pesticides to treat unwanted plants
According to Nowak, “If you hire a company to do it, it’s in the thousands of dollars and we just don’t have the budget for that.”
Students at Kaukauna High School will also help in this experiment, recording data to see if it’s working over the next two weeks.
In the end, it will hopefully bring back a healthy and diverse ecosystem for everyone, and everything to enjoy.