Goats now tackling Pitt–Greensburg hillsides

Pitt–Greensburg didn’t want the Pittsburgh campus to have all the fun, so they’ve invited their own set of goats to help clear hillsides of weeds and invasive plants on the Hempfield Township campus.

The goats began their work on Sept. 25 and will stay approximately four weeks until the designated areas are clear. The herd will be accompanied Hobo and Diamond, two miniature donkeys who protect the goats.

The goats and donkeys will be stationed in various locations on campus, using portable enclosures that include shelter and access to water. The goats are able to graze 20 hours out of a 24-hour period.

“Using goats as a component of our facilities management plan does several things for us,” Joseph Bleehash, director of Facilities Management at Pitt–Greensburg, said in a news release. “First, the goats are a safe alternative to having our facilities staff using riding lawn mowers on a hillside or scaling a hillside to use trimmers on an area. Second, it is a sustainable option because it cuts down on our use of gas-powered equipment, which means we are reducing our carbon footprint.”

Goat watchers can follow the progress of the four-footed weed-eaters on Pitt-Greensburg’s social media accounts, including Twitter (@Pitt_Greensburg and @UPG_Facilities) and on Instagram (@pittgreensburg and @UPG_Facilities).

The goats will be grazing in four areas:

  • The hillside at the rear of the Academic Village that follows Lynch Drive

  • The lower Lynch Drive area near the Tossatto Walkway Bridge

  • The hillside in front of Robertshaw Residence Hall

  • The shallow gulley that runs from the stone bridge in front of Millstein Library to North Campus Road.

“Goats will eat the plants down to the roots, which remain in the ground and prevent erosion,” said Bleehash. “The goats also will graze as high as they can reach, which is about 6-feet-high when they stand on their hind legs. Water serves as a natural barrier to them, so we will have some temporary ramps in place where their grazing location requires them to move between both sides of Slate Run on our campus.”

— Susan Jones