The Phoenix Conservancy recently deployed nearly 70 goats at Pullman’s Conservation Park.
The goat goal? Eat just about everything in sight.
Wednesday through Sunday, the hungry crew has been on site for eight hours a day working to safely clear more than 20 invasive plant species with the hope of restoring the park to its Palouse Prairie roots.
As the goats ate, human volunteers help spread seed and plant native plant species. The goats are on loan from Leshay Goat Rentals in Cheney, Wash.
Volunteer Maddy Lucas, of Pullman, jumped at the opportunity to help.
“To be able to help restore a piece of land so that others can enjoy it like I do, is really cool,” Lucas said. She said her employer granted her as many as 16 paid hours off for community service. “Giving back is the goal, but hanging out with the goats is a bonus.”
The native seeds being spread include Idaho fescue, blue bunch wheatgrass and sunflowers. They are pushed further into the soil as the herd grazes, eating what doesn’t belong. Volunteers are asked to plant mature plants behind the goats to further crowd out the invasive species.
Because invasive plant species are so persistent, The Phoenix Conservancy is hoping to run a similar program in the fall to ensure that the terrain at Conservation Park will remain exclusive to plant native to the area.
For more on Conservation Park and Phoenix Conservancy, visit phoenixconservancy.org/conservation-park/.