GROW Enrichment is a Nashville nonprofit organization that focuses on community development through urban agricultural and nature conservation education. This worthy organization offers ongoing instruction for home schooled-students, workshops for the general public, support programs for local public schools, and nature-based summer day camp opportunities.
The local parks department had donated 14 urban acres of parkland to be stewarded by GROW. Preparing for its opening in May 2017, GROW had quite a bit of land to clear of non-native invasive vegetation. Our goats came to the rescue.
“The forest was two-thirds invasive plants,” recalled Ginger-Rose Krueck, GROW’s co-executive director, co-founder and teacher. “They were choking the life out of the forest. Very few tress were still standing. Wildlife local to the area, like owls and red foxes, is dependent on that forest. We needed to try to improve the health of the forest for the sake of protecting the wildlife.”
GROW decided to focus on a two-acre area. Goat Guys brought a herd of about 75 animals in, and they spent three days munching on the invasive species. Meanwhile, on the other side of the trail, GROW had 70 volunteers wrangling weeds themselves. “The human side of the trail, while they did great work, was utter devastation,” recalled Ginger-Rose. “It looked like the whole forest was clear-cut; they left a mess, with wood debris everywhere. On the goats’ side, it still looked like a forest, except all the invasive species were gone. There’s so much native vegetation growing there now.”
The goats proved popular during their visit, too. “There was a hugely positive community reaction,” says Ginger-Rose. “Our city councilman came out to see. Our students loved them; they even named a baby goat Cinnamon. We had no idea how fun they could be. But the best part was, they were highly effective.”
GROW liked our services so much that Ginger-Rose wants to bring the goats back to clear another five or six acres.
What would Ginger-Rose say to a company or organization who was looking to use Goat Guys?
“Absolutely 110 percent, you should call Goat Guys. The goats are amazing and effective, and Josh is so friendly. It’s an ecological solution too. The goats are fertilizing the land, and putting back into the land. They’re doing it all naturally. It’s better for the environment.
“The goats made a big difference, and had a lasting impact on everyone who came into contact with them,” she says. “It was amazing.”
Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary is a non-profit organization located in northern Williamson County, Tennessee, that is dedicated to a mission of environmental education and research, the restoration of native flora and fauna, the conservation and protection of natural resources, and spreading an appreciation and enjoyment of nature.
They’re also a close neighbor of Goat Guys and, in fact, became our very first customer back in 2013. And they remain a valued customer today.
Owl’s Hill brings back around 20 of our goats every spring and summer to work on different pieces of land at the sanctuary. They’ve spent so much time there that the sanctuary has given some of them names, like Maurice, Wally and Shakira.
Margaret Cameron, executive director of the sanctuary, estimates that our goats to date have cleared over 20 acres of land of invasive, non-native plant species such as honeysuckle that have a negative impact on the land’s ecosystem.
Margaret says one of the advantages of using goats as opposed to spraying chemicals or running machines to clear land is that the non-native, invasive plants generally don’t come back once the goats have munched on them and, even better, some native plants that had disappeared have grown back as a result of the goats’ clearing and fertilizing. “You can just see the improvement,” she says. And visitors and researchers at the sanctuary love seeing the goats.
“I really like working with Goat Guys,” says Margaret. “Any time I have a problem, I text Josh and David and they are there. They’re very hands-on. That’s not true of some other companies who do this. My recommendation to any organization or company would be that if you want to try something different when it comes to clearing land, you should call Goat Guys.”
Nora and Scott of White Bluff, Tenn.
Nora and Scott have lived for 14 years on five beautiful acres in White Bluff. But they’d never really spent much time on three of them because they couldn’t access them through all of the invasive vegetation.
“It was so bad,” says Nora. “It was so thick that there were places we’d never seen on it. You’d look out from the yard and it was a wall of green, totally impenetrable. Bush honeysuckle, Japanese honeysuckle, privet, poison ivy... There were foot-deep thickets.”
Nora and Scott wanted to clear the land so they could enjoy it. Nora got on the internet and found Goat Guys. “I wanted to hire goats because they’d do it very gently,” she explained. “No poisons, no machinery.”
So our herd came out and Nora and Scott fell in love with our goats and sheep over the course of 10 days. “It was amazing,” she said. “We got to know them, their different personalities, different voices. Uno and her baby were my favorites. Just hanging out and watching them work was really awesome. I also really liked watching Josh work with his dog Skye to herd the goats back into the trailer. It was very impressive.”
Nora and Scott liked that the goats avoided the native plants they wanted to keep and focused on the invasive plants. They appreciated that Josh blocked off some bushes and trees Nora and Scott wanted to keep. They appreciated the free fertilizer our herd provided, too, and the fact that the invasive seeds the goats ingested are sterilized to reduce the risk of the invasive plants coming back.
Nora and Scott also have an easement for power lines that they need to keep clear. They didn’t want to use poison or a Bush Hog to clear it and, as Nora said, “chew everything up.” The goats were gentle to the land, but super-effective on clearing it.
Now the couple can see a huge part of their land that they’ve never seen before. Josh and the animals even created paths throughout the property for them to use. “It’s like a new place,” said Nora. “There are huge old trees we’d never seen before.”
Another added benefit our herd delivered to Nora and Scott was pest control. “They cleared out the brush that the ticks were hanging out on,” she said. “You just couldn’t walk out there without getting bit. Now we can go out without getting harassed by a million ticks and chiggers.”
Nora said she would recommend Goat Guys “100 percent” to other landowners. And Scott was kind to say on Facebook, “Our experience with the Goat Guys was incredible! Josh really cares about his goats and sheep and made sure they were well taken care of every day. The herd got right to work eating honeysuckle, privet, poison ivy, blackberry, and clearing sections of our property we could barely get to. They did an amazing job. I would recommend the Goat Guys to anyone needing underbrush removed from their land.”
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