You may do a double-take in the next few weeks when you spot these "temporary landscape services workers" on the WMU campus. Why?They're goats. Real life goats. And they're back for another summer of "mowing" on WMU property.

Nick Gooch, WMU horticulturist and the landscape services staff member is again overseeing the use of goats on campus, in collaboration with Garrett and Gina Fickle, owners of Munchers on Hooves in Coldwater. The Fickles rent out their four-footed "lawn mowers" to homeowners, farmers, commercial property owners and other clients. WMU used one of their 10-goat crews for one week last summer as part of a pilot project to test the animals' viability as an environmentally friendly land management tool.

That pilot crew is back for a second helping of weeds and invasive species after chewing its way through nearly one-half acre of the unwanted vegetation in 2016. But the crew did such a good job that WMU was hungry to expand this year. In addition to last year's group, another 10 goats are being employed. The two crews will eat their way through an expected 15 acres by the time they leave campus about a week before fall classes start. -WMU


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