Updated: Oct. 21, 8:52 a.m. | Posted: Oct. 20, 1:45 p.m.
Goats and sheep have become the go-to species helping Minnesota root out invasive plants. The four-legged crews are typically seen on hillsides or in ditches. Their joint appearance Thursday afternoon outside the Capitol showed good things happen when different groups come together and keep their heads down to achieve a common goal.
“Everyone seems to be interested. There’s been more people here than anywhere else we have been to — everyone’s a fan,” said Emma Blackstone who was tending to the creatures for the firm Minnesota Native Landscapes.
They have a conservation grazing program for ecological approaches to land management in the state. And they don’t just have sheep and goats — cattle and bison are on their roster to provide targeted vegetation management.
On Thursday, the goats were eating tall blue stem that may shade native species and hinder their growth. There were two breeds of goats — Spanish and Boer.
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One hundred and thirty Katahdin sheep were also hard at work. Blackstone said that after a few hours, the sheep and goats will go and work together — but, they still need their rest.
When Minnesota Native Landscapes is contacted for jobs, Blackstone says her role is simple. “We just roll up with the goats and sheep,” she said.
And for Minnesotans, cars slow down, lunch breaks are extended and walks detoured as they go and watch the simple ecological practice.
Correction (Oct. 21, 2022): An earlier version of this story misstated a plant species as invasive. The story has been updated.