For 15 days in September, the Gang of 10 were local celebrities, posing for pictures on every iPhone in the ‘228. The neighborhood dogs may not have been happy, but everyone else seemed to enjoy them.
“They were absolutely fabulous,” says Mickey Stobbe, a board member of the Mt. Lebanon Conservancy, which paid $2,000 for the pilot project.
The Steel City Grazers brought nine goats and a guard donkey named Hobo to Bird Park to eat invasive plants—even poison ivy. These invasives were taking over the park by choking out native species. And until now, the plants had to be removed by hand (real fun with poison ivy!) or by using chemicals, which are both expensive and toxic.
Grazers co-owner Carrie Pavlik says by all accounts, the goats did a great job.
“It went really well. The goats were a big hit with park visitors,” she says. “The total area grazed was .9 acres. There was a lot of snakeroot, which the goats don’t eat, so those plants remain, but otherwise, they pretty much cleared it out.”
Stobbe says if all goes as planned and the budget is available, the Conservancy plans to have the goats back in the spring to clear a different area. “It was great for us and good for the community,” she says.
Read more about the project and see a video of the goats in action.