The Riverside Park Conservancy has started a summer intern program for retirees. The workers will arrive in the city on May 21st and are expected to toil daily in the park through August 30th.
These pensioners are not humans; they're goats.
In the new GOaTHAM program (get it?) twenty-four of them will be relocated here from local farms to snack on weeds on the park's difficult-to-maneuver slopes between 119th and 125th Streets. Their focus will be poison ivy and porcelain berry, along with other aggressive greens taking over the park that can harm local plant species, deplete the soil's nutrients, disturb nesting sites and affect water flow and retention. The goats can take care of these nuisance weeds naturally, without pesticides. (And don't worry--no calamine lotion necessary, as poison ivy doesn't affect them.)
If the goats are hungry enough, the nasty species won't be able to grow back and gardeners will be able to replace them with native varieties.
Anyhoo, it's a win-win situation. The goats get to spend part of their golden years snacking on the weeds they love best and the park does away with harmful species. Hey, we feel you, goats! We'd happily spend a few months just grazing on food prepared by North Square's Chef Yoel Cruz...wouldn't you?
There will be a fence around our bleating guests, but parkgoers still be able to see them hard at work. Riverside is beautiful in and of itself and definitely worth making the trip uptown, with or without our grazing friends!
Check it out!