Nativity Lutheran Church is in the process of redesigning our green space. We want to expand our vegetable gardens to grow more produce for Little Kitchen Food Shelf and transition our hillsides to pollinator gardens.
Our hillsides pose several challenges:
- We have a problem with invasive species and we have steep hills that are difficult to work on.
- Buckthorn is growing in our west hillside between the church and neighboring homes. Buckthorn out-competes native plants for nutrients, light and moisture. It serves as host to pests and it threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies and natural habitats.
- Canadian thistle is growing on our north and east hillsides. It is classified as a noxious weed, spreading quickly and displacing native species.
- Our steep hills are particularly challenging. They are hard to work on, prone to erosion if we disturb the soil with weeding and if we were to use chemicals there is a chance the chemicals will flow downhill to our neighbors and into the watershed.
In researching our landscaping challenges, we have found an innovative solution to our problem that will allow us to demonstrate responsible stewardship, expand our outreach and provide a learning opportunity for the youth and adults within our community. Experts in land management are turning to goat grazing to help manage sensitive landscape. Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of park and watershed managers who are turning to goats to help control buckthorn and other invasive species.
We are bringing in goats to graze our hillsides and serve as a model of responsible stewardship.
- They will draw attention to natural spaces,
- Raise awareness of invasive species,
- Allow us to control our problem without chemicals,
- Begin transition of our hillsides to low-maintenance, native plants which will also serve as pollinator gardens.
We plan to host learning events to provide an opportunity for local preschools and scouting groups. We feel this will be an ideal opportunity to help teach our children about:
- caring for creation,
- caring for animals, and
- invasive species and the importance of biodiversity.
We will hire Goat Dispatch, a family-owned business that provides goats for temporary grazing. The goats will be coming in August and will be with use for 10-14 days.
Stay tuned for updates and an event schedule.