Sierra Watson

The Key Note

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Aug 28

Have You Herd The News

Posted on August 28, 2020 at 12:15 PM by Crystal Keener

Maybe you've seen the herd of goats grazing on the hill at West Park recently, and thought "what's going on here?' Well, let me explain.

First, we recently said goodbye to our summer intern and blogger, Sierra Watson. I guess you could say she moved on to greener pastures, as Access Coordinator for Wilkes Fresh, a mobile produce market for local fruits and vegetables. Wilkes Fresh is a project of the Healthy Wilkes Action Team under The Health Foundation and in collaboration with several other local agencies. 

The Health Foundation owns and manages West Park Medical Park and that brings us to the goats. 

Several years ago The Health Foundation received a planning grant from the NC Forest Service  to beautify West Park. They offered suggestions about how to replant with native species and remove non-native, and invasive plants, specifically on the hillside behind Village Inn Pizza. In order to do that, they needed to clear the way, but that posed a bit of a challenge.

Health Foundation Executive Director Heather Murphy explained, "The steep, rocky terrain makes it challenging for human landscapers and their equipment to navigate safely. West Park is adjacent to the river, and so the use of chemicals that could adversely affect the water system was something we wished to avoid as well, since protecting the watershed is essential to the health and well-being of our community."

Introducing...The Goats. They're  are environmentally friendly, hard-working, natural landscapers. They are built for rough, uneven terrain and are known to be especially effective at taming kudzu. Living in North Carolina, you know well the struggles we have with kudzu.


Murphy had to seek variances from the town to allow goats within the city limits and to be protected from predators by the electric fencing that surrounds their workspace.
That variance was adopted by the North Wilkesboro Board of Commissioners on February 4, 2020

The Goat Squad out of Chapel Hill, NC is providing the workforce. Since 2012, The Goat Squad's Mission has been to offer vegetation removal, educate people about native plants, and introduce our herd as useful and friendly.

Are you curious about getting a little help from goats? Town Planner, Meredith Detsch says you'll need 
a zoning permit, which can take a couple of weeks to process. There's also a limit on how many times you can emply them throughout the calendar year. But what a green way to clean up, and it's entertaining too.