Part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan was to bring the natural elements of the country to the city. To this day, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy honors his legacy, through initiatives such as Olmsted Naturally. The program ensures that Buffalo’s parks incorporate sustainable elements such as natural restoration, native plantings, invasive plant control/removal, Maintained Meadow Areas (MMA), composting (cold and hot), pesticides and fertilizer alternatives, and compost teas. To me, this is brilliant. Olmsted is leading the way with many of its environmental standards, and continues to push the envelope.
While meeting with Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of The Conservancy, she told me about a very interesting idea that she had for the parks system. She mentioned that when she was at the University of Georgia, there was a Chew Crew program, where goats helped to maintain the grounds. Stephanie said that she was thinking about implementing a similar program in Buffalo, for the Olmsted Parks.
At this point, the only issue that has not been solved, is where to keep the animals in the winter time. If/when that piece of the puzzle comes together, the Chew Crew would be unleashed at certain key park areas, to help keep invasive plant species at bay. The goats would literally take care of the parks, by “chewing” the invasive growth. The goats would either be herded throughout the day, or kept within a portable pen that would be placed in areas with a high concentration of invasive plants.
Now that goat yoga is all the rage, the next logical progression would be goat assisted park maintenance. The effort would jibe nicely with the Olmsted Naturally mantra. It would also be a great draw for the parks. After all, who doesn’t love visiting these cute critters?
Photos by Camden Stovall – The Chew Crew at University of Georgia