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Goats graze on Hartsfield's green

Photos by Jim Massara
Brian Cash of Ewe-niversally Green says grazing animals are particularly effective on rough terrain that lawn mowers can’t handle.

Photos by Jim Massara Brian Cash of Ewe-niversally Green says grazing animals are particularly effective on rough terrain that lawn mowers can’t handle.

COLLEGE PARK — If you want to get someone’s goat at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, all you have to do is look behind the fence along Riverdale Road.

Look long enough and hard enough and you’ll see them — goats. And sheep, too. An army of more than 100 critters, grazing on dry grass and underbrush and kudzu and stuff no other animal would eat on a bet.

It’s a good thing the goats like it. So far, so do the folks at Hartsfield.

“I really like the progress that they’re making,” said Chris Davis, who handles grounds maintenance around Hartsfield. “What I really like about it is I can put the sheep out there, leave, don’t have to worry about it, come back, and the vegetation just disappears.”

The goats and sheep are part of a week-long test, funded by an anonymous donor through Trees Atlanta, to see if these four-legged weed whackers can clean up terrain at Hartsfield where the regular crew dares not tread.

Brian Cash of Ewe-niversally Green, which supplied the goats and sheep, said that not only does the cost of using grazing animals to control foliage compare favorably with more conventional means, it’s better because it doesn’t use herbicides.

“It’s a huge step toward making our environment a greener, safer place,” Cash said.

Better still, the goats and sheep are completely unfazed by city sounds. The roar of jets overhead doesn’t bother them in the least.

“They’ve always been around the highways, they’ve always been around a lot of people,” Cash said. “Very little bothers them at this point.”

They just stand there. And eat.

“They’re so excited about all the food they have in front of them that once Brian dropped them off they immediately went to work,” Davis said. “They’ve been chewing ever since.”

The herd will continue to chew over the weekend and through next Tuesday. A banner on the fence on the side of Riverdale Road nearest I-285 marks the spot.