What’s the G.O.A.T. Project?
The sound of bleating goats returns to downtown Pound Ridge in May for the second season of the three-year, grant-funded G.O.A.T. Project—an anti-invasive grazing demonstration designed to control the spread of Japanese knotweed. “Goats are the only thing that will get rid of knotweed,” says Marilyn Shapiro-Lowell, president of the Henry Morgenthau Preserve and a Pound Ridge Conservation board member.
The Preserve, along with The Invasives Project-Pound Ridge and the Pound Ridge Land Conservancy, with the support of the Beverly Bender Fund of Westchester Community Foundation, bring in goats from a farm in Rhinebeck to manage an area teeming with knotweed behind Avant Garden on Westchester Avenue.
Last fall, four goats (Bo Peep, Tilly, Lily, and a pygmy goat called Shorty Smalls) ate their fill of invasives during eight weeks on the property, chomping up to 80 pounds of greenery each day. Shapiro-Lowell says the goats “lifted up the town and were great community builders,” with many people stopping by to visit them.
The goats also serve as conversation starters about local environmental concerns. “The goats got people talking about invasives in our community,” Shapiro-Lowell says. “They are another way to educate people that there are alternatives to herbicides.”
This spring, organizers seek volunteers to water the goats. Interested participants can email email@example.com.
“We will train you and gladly welcome you into the goat phenomenon,” says Shapiro-Lowell.