Goats released on Thousand Islands Environmental Center

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KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WBAY)-- With every bite and nibble, goats from Mulberry Lane Farm are helping to rid Thousand Islands Environmental Center of unwanted vegetation.

"We're really overrun with a lot of invasive species," said Bebbie Nowak from the Environmental Center, "buck thorn, garlic mustard, honeysuckle, creeping jenny and with a very limited staff and a limited budget, it's hard to manage these invasives."

With its close proximity to the river, using chemicals to rid the area of the invasive plants wasn't environmentally friendly so the goats were a good option.

The team of nine, six adult females and three babies, arrived on loan Monday.

"We have them in smaller enclosures now so that they really intensely browse in their small area and then we'll move them into a new area in a couple of days throughout the two-week period," Nowak said.

The goats will focus on a half acre plot of land during their stay. Their effectiveness is being tracked by science students from Kaukauna High School who surveyed the land before the goats arrived.

"In two weeks when they're done, we'll go back and test again and we'll see how much is left in order to determine if the experiment was successful," said Kaukauna senior Taylor Wegand.

Getting the community involved in the project is really a win-win. Not only are the invasive species being cleaned out by the goats, but the students are putting their classroom applications to work.

"It's kind of an honor to be able to help the community," added Kaukauna junior Taylor Geurts, "instead of just sitting in the classroom and learning about it. It's really cool to be able to help out around the community, too."

And depending on how well the goats do with ridding the area of the invasive species, it will determine whether the nature center will look to invest more in the program in the future.