It’s nothing out of the ordinary to see horses walking along the Polly Ann Trail.
Goats, on the other hand, would likely draw a few stares.
Travis Moore, a fifth-year student of Oxford’s Early College program, is hosting an Open Mic Night event, as part of his Capstone Project, to help bring some goats to the trail to do some natural landscaping.
The Open Mic Night will be held Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. at Evergreens Coffee and Bakeshop inside Merge Studio & Gallery located at 33 Pleasant St. in Oxford.
A panel of judges will determine the winner of the event, who will be presented with a pair of Beats headphones.
For Moore, the project combines two very important parts of his life.
“I’m a music enthusiast. I love music. I’m not talented myself, but I love (it)… I’ve also worked at Evergreen’s Coffee and Bake Shop since it opened, so I figured, why not put the two together and go for it?,” said Moore.
There will be a $5 door fee per person, with all proceeds being donated to the Polly Ann Trail.
According to Trail Manager Linda Moran, the funds will go towards a project which would employ a unique group of landscapers to work along the trail: a herd of goats.
“I think it’s just wonderful that he’s raising money for (this project),” Moran said. “It’s a non-chemical, environmentally-friendly, sustainable program that they offer that basically clears out all the underbrush from trails and yards… it works really well. You don’t have to spray chemicals, you don’t have to use heavy machinery or tear up the trail.”
Through the program, a herd of 15-30 goats would be fenced alongside the trail from morning to dusk, so they could graze away excess brush and invasive plants.
The Polly Ann 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 for approximately $1,250 a week.
Moran hopes to eventually raise $10,000 in total, through Moore’s fundraiser and others, to use as matching funds to qualify for grants at the local, state, and national levels.
The 14.2-mile-long trail runs through Orion Township and continues northeast through Oxford, Addison and Leonard to the Oakland-Lapeer county line at Bordman Road. Potential connections include the Paint Creek Trail, Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Macomb Orchard Trail, Clinton River Trail, County Parks and numerous recreational and public places.
“It will depend on how much we are able to raise and which grants we qualify for, how long the goats are able to be out there. I want to be able to share the goats with all of the communities the trail (runs through)… (they’re) going to be moving the goats around along the trail to share whatever time I have available with the whole community,” said Moran.
If all goes well, Moran hopes to start “goatscaping” the trail in spring 2017.
Moore said he hopes the Open Mic Night fund-raiser, which has taken him months to plan, will help bring the project to fruition.
“Setting up fundraisers is a lot of work and you really have to be dedicated to (the cause)… I’m hoping we’ll be able to get the goats out in the springtime, at least by the middle of April,” said Moore.
To further the cause, Moore also created a page on Go Fund Me at gofundme.com/polly-ann-trail-fundraiser .
For more information regarding Open Mic Night, contact Moore at (248) 495-1272.