TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A new kind of cleanup crew hits the Towson University campus this weekend. It’s environmentally safe and costs less than many major machines.
Gigi Barnett explains how it works.
Right next to the Glen Towers residence hall is a Towson Unversity treasure: the Glen Arboretum. For years, invasive English ivy choked out other native plants and trees. Goats have been hired to clean up the area—eighteen goats in all.
Ronie Cassily owns the herd from Harmony Church Farm in Harford County.
“I did bring them here hungry. Well, they’re always hungry,” Cassily said. “They eat all the time.”
The university called her when it realized that pesticides don’t work well on the waxy English ivy leaves—plus the chemical could leak into a nearby stream. The goats were the safest bet.
“They really are, in a managed way, the best thing to do to get rid of these invasives, which are killing our forests. People don’t realize the forests in Maryland are in terrible shape,” Cassily said.
Over the next four days, the goats will eat about a quarter acre of English ivy. If they do a good job, they’ll be asked back—because the university has about eight acres to clear.
“Basically this is a trial and we’re going to see how well this works,” said James Hull, professor emeritus.
Cassily says she waited to get to the goats to campus until the fall because it helps them target the English ivy.
“If there was something else in here, they’d eat it but there’s nothing else in here,” she said.
Once the goats clear the English ivy from the campus, the university plans to replant all 120 species once found in the arboretum.
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