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Goats brought in to clear space for pollinators

By Josh Staloch
Staff Writer

HOWARD – This Labor Day brought an invasion of sorts to the Howard area as 38 grass-gobbling goats were dropped off at two heavily-wooded locations in Howard’s Meadowbrook Park.

The goats will clear the area of invasive plants including Canada goldenrod and buckthorn, making way for pollinator-friendly plants to take over.

State Representative Dave Steffen, who lives in the Meadowbrook Park area, got the project going after seeing the method used in other states as a way to clear areas of invasive plant species without bringing in a lot of heavy equipment.

A herd of 38 goats was brought in to eat everything in sight on two separate sections of land at Meadowbrook Park which will eventually make way for pollinator-friendly plants. Josh Staloch Photo

“I thought this would be a perfect area for a pollinator meadow,” Steffen said. “And then I read an article about the new CEO of Nsight/Cellcom, her name is Brighid Riordan, about how one of her passions is pollinator meadows. So, I decided to call her, walk her out here and tell her that I think this would be a great project for her to sponsor.”

Steffen said he got together with Riordan over the winter.

Upon seeing the area in question, she didn’t hesitate to offer her company’s financial backing to make the idea happen.

The environmentally-conscious project won’t take long to complete as the goats, provided by Liberation Farmers of Almond, WI., are expected to clear the two fenced-in areas in a week to 10 days.

Paige Gresens, whose family lives in a home bordering one of the sites to be cleared in Meadowbrook Park, makes a new friend out of one of the 38 biological lawnmowers working on clearing the area of invasive plant species. Josh Staloch Photo

The Village of Howard plans to seed the areas next spring with the hope of attracting pollinators by summer.

“Cellcom is focused on reducing our negative impact on the environment and investing in projects in our communities that do the same,” said Mick O’Malley, director of sustainability at Cellcom. “This project is in our backyard and has the support of local citizens and the village of Howard. We’re proud that we’re able to provide the funding to make it a reality.”

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