Optima® is committed to sustainability and the environment, always seeking innovative and eco-friendly solutions to maintain and enhance the beauty of our communities. One recent example of these efforts that sparked our interest was the use of goats to clear invasive species in Glencoe, a sustainable practice that helps preserve native plants and reduces the need for harmful chemicals and machinery.

In early May, the Glencoe Park District invited a herd of 22 goats under the ownership of Kim Hunter and her Green Goats of Wisconsin, to spend a few days in Milton Park, which includes a walking path at Dundee Road and Milton Avenue and a wooded area adjacent to a playground. The goats were brought in as a natural and efficient way to manage overgrown vegetation and restore balance to the ecosystem, since invasive species quickly choke out native plants and disrupt the natural habitat. Traditional methods of controlling these plants often involve chemical herbicides or heavy machinery, both of which can have detrimental effects on the environment. The herd immediately went to work, chomping buckthorn, honeysuckle, poison ivy and celandine.

With their voracious appetites, the goats are capable of consuming large quantities of vegetation, including the invasive species. As the goats graze, they naturally clear the area, allowing native plants to flourish once again. The use of goats is rooted in the principles of ecological balance and sustainability, and supports biodiversity by allowing native plants to thrive, which in turn provides habitat and food for local wildlife. Additionally, the goats’ natural grazing patterns help to aerate the soil, promoting healthy plant growth and improving soil quality.

The initiative in Glencoe is a testament to the effectiveness of this approach. Over a four-day period, the goats were able to make significant progress in clearing invasive species from the designated areas. Their presence also served as an educational opportunity for the community, highlighting the benefits of sustainable practices and the importance of maintaining ecological balance.

The use of goats to clear invasive species in Glencoe is a shining example of how sustainable practices can effectively address environmental challenges. This approach not only benefits the local ecosystem by promoting the growth of native plants but also aligns with Optima®’s dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship. By embracing such innovative solutions that work with nature rather than against it, we can create healthier, more vibrant communities that harmonize with the natural world.

Read the full story about the goats in Milton Park (with additional photos) in The Record here.