Gazing and Grazing with the Goats!
We had a large turnout for our first community pop-up event on Tuesday, June 20, from 4-6 pm. Lots of nearby hills neighbors, along with others not so nearby, came to view the goats on the hills across from the Gateway Garden and Pavilion along Hiller Drive. Children and adults alike enjoyed socializing and meeting others, while enjoying popcorn, lemonade & other snacks.
The goats actively participated in the event, eating and roaming the hillside, enjoying the dry weeds and brush, clearing out the plants to help reduce fuel for fires. It is very important work that they provide.
Martin Matarrese of Ecosystem Concepts was on hand to share his 30+ years of experience with goat grazing management. He shared his wealth of knowledge of the sophisticated technicalities of choosing the right goats (usually around 1 year old) and the right hills at the right time. It is not simply just letting the goats loose to do their thing. There are a lot of logistics involved with the scheduling, herding and movement of the goats that makes this truly amazing endeavor happen.
Martin, along with his goat shepherds from Peru and their trusty goat dog herder, maintain a close eye on keeping all 661 goats in line. We did witness a wayward goat that broke through and escaped the electric fence! We learned from Martin that the goat must have eyed a plant or flower of interest and got carried away. He said that goats really want to be with their herd, so we watched Oscar, the lead goat shepherd, coax the goat back into the gated area. Oscar first tried to lasso the goat, but they tend to move fast! He then carefully opened the gate and the goat walked back to where his friends were.
The goats are on their last hill section for this year and will be leaving our community early next week.
The NHCA would like to thank everyone who came out to join us, and we plan to have more neighborhood events in the future. Please mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual IceCream Social/Plant Sale on August 19th from 1-4pm at the Gateway Garden.
If you would like to learn more about the North Hills Community Association, please visit our website northhillscommunity.org
Vicki Oliveira, NHCA Garden + Events Chair