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Aquinas College is bringing goats to campus

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Aquinas College is bringing goats to campus. No kidding! As a part of our urban forest initiative, the Center for Sustainability at Aquinas has worked for several years in partnership with the City of Grand Rapids Urban Agriculture Committee to make this happen. Aquinas received permission from the City of Grand Rapids to bring a goat rental company onto campus to do some munching on invasive species. The goats will be munching in the areas shown on the map below.

 

Although the map shows two areas, there will only be one herd of goats working one site at a time. The goats will arrive at campus around noon on Saturday, July 17 and will begin working the hill just south of the path between the Chapel and CCH. About 3 days later, the goats will move to AB Woods (just east of AB) where they will work until Friday, July 23rd (ca 12pm).  

The goats are coming to Aquinas to help improve the health of our urban forest. Invasive species like Buckthorn have been a substantial threat to native plant species and luckily, goats love to eat them. Goats offer quite a compelling sustainability case as they prefer eating invasives, they pull up plants from the roots, and their digestive systems sterilizes seeds, meaning there is no regrowth. Our hope is that with the help of these goats, Aquinas will make progress toward the goal of completely eradicating these pests from our woods and creating a better environment for native species to flourish. Beyond protecting our beautiful campus forest, we are excited about what this initiative could mean for the City of Grand Rapids. This project could help inform a future ordinance allowing for the temporary use of goats for sustainable lawn care management. 

We know this will be an exciting project to observe and we warmly welcome visitors from on campus and off. However, we request that you observe the goats safely. The goats will be contained to the work area with a solar powered electric fence. Again, the fence is electrified, so please keep a little distance. Finally, we wish you could pet and cuddle with the goats, but they are on campus to do very important work. Unfortunately, we will not be able to pet the goats or enter into their fenced work area. 

Please mark your calendars to see goats take a bite out of invasive species on Aquinas’ campus! 

Learn more about their diet and their relationship with invasive species.

Read more about the Urban Forest Initiative at Aquinas.

To read more about how Goats have helped other places or organizations, please visit the following links below: 

How Detroit is trying to approve goats in Urban areas. 

A case for environmentally friendly weed control.