Haley Gosnell unleashed hundreds of goats at Anderson Park with one goal in mind: clear out vegetation overgrowth.
Gosnell, the owner of GoatScaping LLC, grew up in Arlington but had a change of heart about city life and decided to work with farm animals — specifically goats. Now, she travels North Texas with her companions in order to clean up green space naturally.
“Goats are like kids. If you picture a full meal, they’re going to go for the ice cream and the good stuff first, so when you put them into these areas, they’re going for the stuff that tastes good and you’re forcing them to eat everything,” Gosnell said. “So, for about six-and-a-half feet high, there’ll be nothing [when they’re done].”
The city of Fort Worth implemented this method of clearing land Sept. 20 in partnership with Gosnell’s company. The animals aim to clear out more than 2 acres in the north Fort Worth green space — without chemicals or machinery.
Chris Swindle, a senior contract compliance specialist with the city, said this is the first time Fort Worth has tried using goats. If the program is successful, it could become an environmentally friendly method of choice, he said.
Most of the goats were born into this line of work, so they are familiar with electric fencing, Gosnell said. The job should be finished within two days, she said.
“So far, we’ve had positive feedback from residents. In fact, they asked us to stay longer, so the kids can play with the goats,” Swindle said. “This is much faster than getting heavy equipment out here.”
Goat grazing offers cities an opportunity to be kinder to the environment while also beautifying the area.
“Texans, you know, they want to hose everything with chemicals, but we’re going more green, and what better way to go green than with some goats,” Gosnell said.
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.