The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 9, 2014

Goats clearing weeds, vines in Pittsburgh park

PITTSBURGH — A herd of goats has been "hired" to clear weeds and invasive vines from a Pittsburgh park as the first stage in a restoration project.

The nonprofit group, Tree Pittsburgh, is spearheading the effort to improve and plant more trees at West Penn Park in the city’s Polish Hill neighborhood.

The goats are owned by Erik Schwalm, a Saxonburg farmer, who has 130 of the animals that he raises for meat and for show. Saxonburg is about 25 miles north of the city.

Each goat can eat about 25 percent of its body weight in greens each day. Although it’s more expensive to clear ground using goats, they have fewer side effects than herbicides.

Although Schwalm owns the goats, they were hired through Eco-Goats, a Maryland firm.

 

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