Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia's own semi-resident goat herd, the Tanyard Creek Chew Crew, has returned to its temporary grazing grounds next to the Hull Street parking deck on North Campus. And volunteers are needed Thursdays in April and May 1 from 4:30-6 p.m. to help with the goats and their work.
Throughout the month of April, the goats will help restore the ecological quality of the creek by munching away at the kudzu, English ivy, privet and other invasive plants that cover the stream banks.
The Chew Crew is part of an experiment in "prescribed grazing," a process that uses livestock to remove invasive vegetation from stream corridors and patches of forest on the UGA campus. While goats do much of the work, they depend on assistance from humans. That's where volunteers come in.
At least once per week, volunteers meet at the Chew Crew site near the intersection of Hull and Baxter streets to pick up trash, sow native plant seeds to help stabilize the soil and assist the goats by cutting down invasive vegetation that is too tall for the animals to reach on their own.
Last year over 200 volunteers-many of them UGA students, faculty and staff-contributed more than 500 hours of service during weekly volunteer work events.
"The work days are really great opportunities to spend time outdoors, get some exercise and enjoy the friendly company of other members of the crew-both goat, and human," said Eric MacDonald, an associate professor in the UGA College of Environment and Design.
Mikey Salter, a graduate student in the UGA School of Law, said these experiences can even be a good form of "exam therapy."
The Tanyard Chew Crew was launched last year when the UGA Office of Sustainability funded a grant proposal written by Zach Richardson, who was then a senior in the College of Environment and Design's landscape architecture program. Last fall, the CED adopted the Chew Crew as one of its research and public service initiatives.