KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – The lack of rain over the last few months has outdoor spaces, like the Thousand Islands Nature Center in Kaukauna, getting creative when combating the dry vegetation and problem plants.

“We have goats browsing in our nature conservancy’s invasive species especially buckthorn as well as undesirable species such as poison ivy,” said Erin Thompson of Thousand Islands.

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The goats act as a natural replacement for chemicals. “Typically, a herd of about 35 goats can clear an acre of land in about a month,” said Thompson. At Thousand Islands, 18 goats are in service and are expected to cover almost a half-acre in the next 12-days. “It’s a great deal for us and for Mulberry Lane Farms where we have them on loan from, because they save a lot of money on feed,” said Thompson.

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Using goats to clear invasive species is becoming quite popular throughout the state of Wisconsin. In Wausau, officials announced plans to use them in early June. “We are not having a goat park. It won’t be a park, but it will be the use of goats here and we’ll make a fun event out of it, something unique that we can bring to the community,” said Jamie Polley, Director of Parks, Recreation, Forestry in Wausau.

The fact that goats naturally eat this type of vegetation regularly, it’s considered a win across the board for all involved. “They are able to break down the buckthorn and poison ivy in their stomach, so when they release the waste, it is okay to return to the soil,” said Thompson. If you would like more information on the Thousand Islands Nature Center click here.