Kaukauna nature center is going to the goats

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KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WBAY) - Thousand Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna is going to the goats. With a large amount of invasive plants on the grounds, the nature center is taking a natural approach to having them removed.

With every bite and nibble a team of goats from Mulberry Lane Farm are helping to rid Thousand Islands Environmental Center of unwanted vegetation.

"We're really overrun with a lot of invasive species, Buckthorn, Garlic Mustard, Honeysuckle, Creeping Jenny and with a very limited staff and a limited budget it's hard to manage these invasives," says Debbie Nowak from Thousand Islands.

With its close proximity to the river, using chemicals to rid the area of the invasive plants wasn't environmentally friendly so the goats were a good option. The six adult females and three babies arrived, on loan, Monday morning.

Nowak says, "We have them in smaller enclosures now so that they really intensely browse in their small area and then we'll move them into a new area in a couple of days throughout the two week period."

The goats will focus on a half acre plot of land during their stay, their effectiveness is being tracked by science students from Kaukauna High School who surveyed the land before the goats arrived.

Taylor Wegland is one of those students. She says, "In two weeks when they're done, we'll go back and test again and we'll see how much is left in order to determine if the experiment was successful."

Getting the community involved in the project is really a win-win. Not only are the invasive species being cleaned out by the goats, but the students are putting their classroom applications to work.

"It's kind of an honor to be able to help the community, instead of just sitting in the classroom and learning about it. It's really cool to be able to help out around the community too," adds Kaukauna junior, Taylor Geurts.

And depending on how well the goats do with ridding the area of the invasive species will determine whether the nature center will look to invest more in the program in the future.