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Hungry Goats Gobble Up Invasive Plants In Wyman Park Dell

Twenty hungry goats spent five days on a hill in North Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell, transforming it from a dense woodland overgrown with invasive plants to a slope so bare it could be the dead of winter. 

The goats were guests of the Friends of Wyman Park Dell, a nonprofit that raised more than $3,000 to bring the animals to clear the slope, adjacent to the Baltimore Museum of Art, as an environmentally friendly alternative to machines and herbicides. They were contracted through Wednesday, but finished their job ahead of schedule on Monday afternoon.

“There’s no one-and-done invasive species method, but goats are a great way to get things under control,” said Brian Knox, a supervising forester for the company Eco-Goats, which rents out the herd.  

Knox said the Nubian goats — including Pepper, Peck, Piper, Ferdinand, Dora, Lola and Ramone — were slightly frightened when they first arrived on the 16-acre pocket park on Thursday evening, thanks to traffic and construction noises, which aren’t usually heard on their farm on the Eastern Shore. 

“But they’re always happy to come off the trailer and magically, there’s food,” he said. 

Eco-Goats installed a temporary electric fence to create an enclosure that prevented both goat wandering and human interference from Thursday to Monday, Eco-Goats’ Jennifer Klug Vaccaro said. 

“People were worried — ‘Oh, you’re going to leave them overnight? Won’t they be unsafe?’ — but our experience has been that we end up with a lot of eyes on our team who are very protective of the goats,” she said.

The goats basked in Baltimore’s limelight during their time in the dell, becoming minor internet celebrities, and enjoyed plenty of multiflora rose plants and wineberries along the way. But when Vaccaro set a tray of food inside their trailer in order to get them back on the road, the goats happily jumped inside. 

“We’ve yet to run into anyone who says, ‘thank goodness you’re taking these goats away,’ ” Vacarro said.


Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.
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