The goats are hard at work eating and stomping on weeds at Harlow Platts Community Park to help with the city’s Integrated Pest Management program.
Now they’re ready to take a selfie with you at the annual “Meet and Bleat” on Sunday, Aug. 22 from 9-11 a.m. at Harlow Platts Community Park.
The “Meet and Bleat” event allows community members to see the goats up close, take photos, pet them, and, new this year, learn how to milk the goats.
“There will be about 20 goats, all female, including one baby goat,” said Heather Speicher from Homestead Ranch, the provider of the goats to the city. “We encourage people to come say hi to Radar, Kelley, Trixie, Grandma, and the rest of the herd. They’re very friendly!”
Event visitors should leave their dogs at home and not bring any food for the goats since they’re busy eating weeds. Visitors should park next to the playground and follow the signage to the goats on the other side of the lake.
“We are excited to bring the goats back after we put the program on pause last year due to the pandemic,” said Natural Lands Program Coordinator Joy Master. “They are an important part of the city’s Integrated Pest Management program, which incorporates prevention, education, mechanical, cultural, minimal chemical, and biological controls, such as this method. The goats are a natural way to stomp out weeds.”
The goats take care of Canada thistle, crown vetch, common teasel, and chicory weeds, and have managed weeds for the last 20 years at the Reservoir, Tantra Park, Christensen Park, Gerald Stazio Softball Fields area, Maxwell Park, and Harlow Platts Community Park.
“The goats can’t get to the weed roots, but by chomping, digesting, and stomping on the plants, the goats minimize seed production,” said Master. “Weed management is important for the city to be in compliance with the state’s noxious weeds law.”
The herd of goats at the park can take care of approximately ¼ an acre every eight days before moving on to a new section of the park. The goats will be on-site at Harlow Platts Community Park until mid-September.