The goats are back (Photos)

October 12, 2021


A herd of goats is back on campus with a straightforward assignment: Eat the overgrown vegetation along the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor. They’ll earn top marks based on how much they clear and how quickly.

Goat browsing is an environmentally-friendly landscape management practice that reduces the need for herbicide and gas-powered equipment.

“The goats do an excellent job of helping us control invasive plants,” said Rob Andrejewski, director of sustainability. “They happily eat the porcelain berry, English ivy, Japanese stilt grass, and other non-natives that are so hard for us to control. When they eat these plants, it allows the native flowers, shrubs, and grasses to get much-needed sunlight and airflow.”

Once the goats finish browsing, the University continues the work by removing the remainder of the plant by hand or spot treating with herbicides so the invasive plants do not re-emerge in the spring. “Maintaining a natural setting that allows native fauna and flora to thrive is a long-term commitment,” Andrejewski said.

“It is always great when you find a ‘tool’ that everyone loves so much that adds to our goal of helping aid in our invasive species management,” said Allison Moyer, associate director of landscape services. “We look at having the goats on campus as a win for the University, the community, and the project as a whole.”

This is the second time RVA Goats and Honey has sent goats to UR. In 2019 they cleared areas near the Westhampton tennis courts and from behind the Modlin Center and Lora Robins. RVA Goats and Honey is a local, woman-owned business and their herd size matches the university’s needs.

Another company provided goats in 2018 to help with invasive plant removal during the first phase of construction for the Eco-Corridor.

"RVA Goats" are gearing up for their next job