Twelve goats are the newest residents of Fanwood after moving in to the borough’s Nature Center Monday, August. 10. The goats, from Green Goats farm near Rhinebeck, N.Y., are being used to fight invasive plants in the center, including poison ivy and Japanese knotweed.
Mayor Colleen Mahr and members of the Environmental Commission, which made the arrangements for the service, welcomed Green Goats operators Ann and Larry Cihanek and their goats to Fanwood.
According to the Cihaneks, the animals will have the run of about half of the center and will eat away most of the invasive vegetation below six feet. The goats are unaffected by the poison ivy, considering it a delicacy, according to Larry Cihanek.
The goats are being used so herbicides won’t have to be used in the center. During the project, which will last about a month, half of the center will be closed to the public. Fences have been erected to separate the public from the goats. The goats are scheduled to return in the spring to finish the project.
The goats have brought a lot of media attention to the borough, including write-ups on TAP into Scotch Plains/Fanwood, nj.com, mycentraljersey.com and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times.
Green Goats owns about 110 goats and is used by several state parks, municipal parks and the Liberty State Park to provide the “weapons of grass destruction” to control invasive plants. The goats are used for about 4-5 months each year, handling 15-16 projects from spring to fall, and then have the winter off at the farm in Rhinebeck, N.Y. This is the ninth year for the Cihaneks in the business.