Congressional Cemetery’s popular lawn-mowing goats are back.
For the next two weeks, 30 goats will dine on more than 1 1/2 wooded acres of ivy, vines and other invasive plants on the east side of the Hill East cemetery. Visitors can follow signage and visit the goats at their gated buffet from dusk to dawn.
Paul Williams, president of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery, said the goats were hired to get rid of invasive species threatening the woods near the cemetery in an organic, pesticide-free way.
“This project combines natural and cultural resources, providing the perfect solution for us since we are so close to the Anacostia River edge,” he said in a statement.
Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 said the District was hesitant when the cemetery first hired the goats in 2013.
“We were a little freaked out that there were goats coming into the city,” Allen said. “Luckily, we were able to understand the partnership allows animals that wouldn’t necessarily be in the city, per say, [and] see the educational opportunity for our city, for our students and for our kids.”
Mary Bowen, owner of Browsing Green Goats, which is supplying the animal landscapers, also noted the educational value of the creatures. She told Hill Now that Nadia “The Wonder Goat” and her daughter, Jacqueline, are writing a children’s book that teaches children about agriculture and saving the environment. She hopes to have a release date by Christmas.
Browsing Green Goats arrived early this morning to set up fencing and let the goats out around 11 a.m., Bowen said. After that, the goats manage themselves.
“There’s no union; they don’t take smoke breaks,” she said. “When they come off that trailer, they go right to work.”
Hill resident Danica Stanciu and her children were among the goats’ first visitors.
“It’s a unique thing that doesn’t happen every day so we took the chance,” Stanciu said. “They’re a little bit tamer than we thought. I didn’t expect the opportunity to pet one.”