Originally published Oct 14, 2013 / Website: http://www.bearcreekgardens.org/support-the-garden
Goats for hire reduce wildfire risk. Colorado Public Radio visits Roxborough Park, where we meet Lani Malmberg, a goat herder who has a team of 400 goats to help with fire mitigation in the area.
The Bear Creek Garden Association solicits your donation to help bring Lani Malmberg and her herd of 500 to 800 weed-eating cashmere goats back to Bear Creek Park after the end of the gardening season.
The Bear Creek Garden Association is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. All donations are, therefore, fully tax deductible. Make checks payable to: Bear Creek Garden Association, and send to, BCGA, P.O. Box 38326, Colorado Springs, CO 80937.
The BCGA raises money each year from its gardeners and from those who use and love Bear Creek Park to provide a goat browsing which lasts from ten days to a month. When goats control the weeds, the El Paso County Parks Department does not spray herbicides for weed control on or near the areas worked by goats.
The goats have been coming to Bear Creek Park for more than 15 years and have developed a special following from area residents. When the herd arrives, fans of the goats come from all over the area, and teachers bring elementary school children to see the goats and to talk to Lani and the other herders about the use of browsing instead of using chemicals to reduce fire danger and control noxious weeds.
Cashmere goats have a particular sweet tooth for noxious weeds, plus they have unique enzymes in their digestive systems which allow them to eat and digest these weeds without becoming ill, and once the seeds from these weeds pass from their bodies, they can no longer germinate, thus reducing the weed population and allowing native grasses a better chance to grow and survive.
Goat browsing for noxious weed management, wildfire mitigation and soil regeneration is steadily growing across the country. Boulder, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming have well established goat browsing programs on public land. Within Colorado Springs, groups of homeowners along Mesa Road, Friendship Lane and Commons Road have also hired Lani and her goat herd for several years to help reduce the danger of wildfire. Many of the backyards in these neighborhoods are so steep that it is almost impossible for humans and/or machines to do the weed and fire tinder mitigation and soil reclamation that the goats do naturally.
The Bear Creek Garden Association is especially partial to hiring Wyoming goat herder, Lani Malmberg, also known in a very positive light as the Goat Lady. Lani has advanced degrees in Weed Science from Colorado State University and is an acknowledged national expert on noxious weed and wildfire mitigation and soil reclamation. Her knowledge, expertise and experience is without peer, and she has been in demand in 12 western states….so far. She is a very hard worker while managing her herd, but always has time to stop and chat with interested observers and to educate them in a light-hearted and upbeat manner on the multiple functions her goats can do all at the same time to help improve the environment (she says 11, and will enumerate them when asked).
Colorado Public Radio interviewed Lani Malmberg, keeper of the goats, that visit the Charmaine Nymann Community Garden area each year. Nicknamed the “Goat Lady, her experience and expertise are appreciated and respected.