Fund-raiser seeks to get plant-munching goats back on trail

Polly Ann Trail Manager Linda Moran (left) and Sam Urban, a fifth-year Oxford Schools Early College student, are asking folks to donate their returnable bottles and cans to help pay for goats that munch on invasive plants. Photo by Elise Shire.
Polly Ann Trail Manager Linda Moran (left) and Sam Urban, a fifth-year Oxford Schools Early College student, are asking folks to donate their returnable bottles and cans to help pay for goats that munch on invasive plants. Photo by Elise Shire.

Last year, Polly Ann Trail Manager Linda Moran was aided by some very adorable (and hungry) goats in her mission to reduce invasive plant species.

She’s hoping to get a team of these hooved, munching professionals back out on the trail this year to chomp away at destructive plant species, such as bittersweet vines and garlic mustard plants.

Sam Urban, a fifth-year Oxford Schools Early College (OSEC) student, has decided to take up the charge this year to help get the goats back on the trail.

He will be raising funds towards the goat project, along with awareness on the importance of recycling, as part of his Capstone project by organizing a widespread bottle collection.

Urban first learned about the project last year when his brother, Louis Urban, worked alongside Moran and Travis Moore to help get the goats put on the trail.

“I want to help in any way that I can,” said Urban. “I want to see the goats back on the trail. Invasive species clog up the path, so to get rid of them in a way that is humane and taking care of the environment naturally… I want to be a part of that.”

According to Moran, blue recycling bins will serve as the can/bottle collection sites and will be located at the municipal office buildings of the Village of Oxford (22 W. Burdick St.), the Township of Oxford (300 Dunlap Rd., Oxford), Orion Twp. (2525 Joslyn Rd., Lake Orion) and the village of Leonard Rowland Hall (23 E Elmwood Ave., Leonard) with through the end of March 2018. A collection bin will also be available at Merge Studio and Gallery located at 33 Pleasant St. in Oxford.

She also expects to have a bin available for collection at the Addison Township Hall (1440 Rochester Rd.) in the coming weeks.

Through the program, a herd of 15-30 goats and sheep would be fenced alongside the trail from morning to dusk, so they could graze away excess brush and invasive plants.

The trail is currently home to many invasive species which crowd out and sometimes kill native vegetation, including Phragmites, Garlic Mustard, Honeysuckle and Bittersweet Vine.

The services would be provided by Pontiac-based City Girls Farm.

“Last year went fabulously. The goats were a huge success. Not only are they just so darn cute, but they really made a noticeable difference on the invasive species,” Moran explained. “Primarily what we were targeting was Bittersweet. The large section that they cleared last year is still clear. It did not re-sprout or overtake the area like one would expect it to. But because it was so decimated by the goats trampling on it and grazing it, it completely retarded the growth and also made it so there was nothing for it to grow up and on. It really made a big difference.”

This year, Moran said she hopes to get the goats out on the trail, starting in May or June, for a full month so that they can continue on the progress which was made last year.

“Invasive species can be detrimental to the native species and wildlife. We can’t get rid of them but we sure can manage them,” Moran added.

Organizations which would like to get involved in the fundraiser and those interested in learning more should contact Moran at manager@pollyanntrailway.org.

 

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