Thursday’s drop-in event invites the public to meet and pet a few of the goats including Bubbles, Coco Puff, Mo and Winter
Boulder Parks and Recreation along with Mutton Mowers LLC invite the public to attend a “Meet and Bleat” Thursday, June 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. on the southeastern portion of Tantra Park near Ludlow Street and Chambers Drive. While the public is not allowed in the main pen where the goats are working, there will be a separate penned area with a few friendly goats available for social interaction.
The city’s department has a Natural Resources team designed to manage approximately 1200 acres of natural lands interspersed throughout Boulder’s urban park system. These natural areas help preserve pockets of biodiversity, maintain wildlife corridors, provide pollinator habitat and offer the public connections to nature near their homes.
Since 2001, the team has utilized goats to assist in weed control efforts as herds graze on invasive plants. In previous years, the goats have grazed at properties such as the Boulder Reservoir, Harlow Platts Park and natural areas near Gerald Stazio softball fields. This year up to thirty goats, a mix of Alpine, Boer, LaMancha, Pygmy and Nubian breeds, will nibble on invasive and noxious weed species like Canada thistle, crown vetch, perennial pepperweed and more.
“It takes a full integrated pest management (IPM) approach to curtail the many invasive and noxious weed species throughout the natural lands system, and the goats have proven to be a valuable and fun method,” said Joy Master, Natural Lands Program Coordinator with Boulder Parks and Recreation. “Folks approach me every year asking when and where they will be. It has been an enriching way to spread the word about the importance of urban habitats and weed mitigation.”
IPM is an effective, environmentally sensitive approach which consists of utilizing various methods (prevention, cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical) to control a pest species. Goats have proven to be a viable, biological tool in managing certain invasive plants in specific scenarios. They also provide many cultural weed management benefits from clearing the understory, which promotes species diversity, to pruning the overstory, which provides more sunlight in shady areas. For more information on the city’s IPM program visit https://bouldercolorado.gov/ipm .
“The goats bring communities together and provide an opportunity to discuss weeds and land management. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces,” said Emily McMurtey, owner of Mutton Mowers LLC. “The Meet and Bleat event is a great opportunity for folks to meet the goats without interrupting them at ‘work’ during their time in the area. People of all ages are excited to see the goats and remember specific goats from year to year. Each goat as a unique personality and name and I enjoy telling people about them.”
Thursday’s drop-in event invites the public to meet and pet a few of the goats including Bubbles, Coco Puff, Mo and Winter. City of Boulder and Mutton Mowers staff will be on site to answer questions about land management, weed control and the use of the goats for these activities. Please leave dogs at home or leash them if approaching while the goats and working guard llama are present.
For more information about Boulder’s parks, please visit boulderparks-rec.org .
Published: June 24, 2019
Denise White, Parks and Recreation, 303-413-7258
Bryan Rachal, Deputy Communication Director, 303-441-3155