Say no to pesticides, sure to goats: Austin nonprofit makes use of goats to handle invasive vegetation alongside Girl Chook Lake Path

Austinites who frequent the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Path at Girl Chook Lake would possibly GOAT a nice shock this month once they encounter four-legged and two-horned faces.

The Path Conservancy, a nonprofit group, launched its Goats on The Path initiative to wash up poison ivy and different invasive vegetation on the path. 

Grady Reed, park operations director for The Path Conservancy, oversees this system and its contractors for vegetation administration alongside the 10-mile loop round Girl Chook Lake and the encircling 250 acres of parkland.

“Throughout my time in Houston, I used to be doing work on the Houston Arboretum, and we began to have a look at a few of our landscapes that simply had a very excessive density of poison ivy and invasive species,” Reed stated. “(We) went to Lease-A-Ruminant, so we reached out and introduced them right down to trip the path and as a part of a pilot program we’re doing this summer season.”

Carolyn and Kyle Carr, co-owners of Lease-A-Ruminant Texas, use goats as a substitute of pesticides and fertilizers to sustainably take away undesirable vegetation from sure areas. The corporate accommodates and displays the goats as they transfer by means of secluded areas and totally different landscapes.

“One of many major species (The Path Conservancy) are coping with is poison ivy. … The poison ivy was retaining them from managing their understory,” Kyle Carr stated. “Goats are the right resolution as a result of they may readily eat poison ivy and don’t have any unwell results from consuming it, so the goats got here in to do this plus different invasives as effectively.”

Within the upcoming weeks, 150 goats will reside and graze alongside the path, with The Path Conservancy managing their progress. The goats will help in growing the panorama’s accessibility to contractors and volunteers for brand new tasks. Reed stated that after the goats eat the vegetation, some vegetation will regrow, however staff can provide mulch and replant understory habitats within the fall.

“We’ll be measuring the success (of the goat vegetation administration) over the following few years,” Reed stated. “As we use this to check towards different sorts of restoration that we’re doing … we’re creating extra useful understories you can see by means of higher. In the event that they’re increased in native species and decrease in invasive species, that’s how we’ll measure it, and we’re trying ahead to seeing the way it goes.”

A Girl Fowl legacy: The Drag premieres podcast on lifetime of First Girl

A southern-style string melody and prepare whistle sound someplace within the distance because the voice of pupil host Jade Emerson marks the primary episode of The Drag’s “Girl Fowl” podcast. “In a personal room adorned with household photographs scotch taped to the partitions, 51-year-old Girl Fowl Johnson ready to present a speech…”

The Drag, UT’s audio manufacturing home, partnered with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Basis to supply its latest podcast, “Girl Fowl.” The 12-episode sequence connects pupil hosts with UT alumna and First Girl Claudia “Girl Fowl” Johnson by means of archived audio interviews. An intimate look into Girl Fowl’s life and legacy, the podcast particulars her research at UT, romance with President Lyndon B. Johnson and private experiences within the White Home. 

“While you consider important First Girls, you consider Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy,” mentioned Katey Outka, managing director of The Drag. “However Girl Fowl hasn’t been in that dialog. She’s diminished to the beautification woman or the wildflowers woman or no matter. Lots of people don’t understand she was a lot greater than that. She was such a useful adviser to LBJ. She had a front-row seat to so many important elements of historical past from the attitude of being a politician’s spouse. I believe she’s usually neglected, particularly because the partner of somebody with as large of a persona as LBJ.”

After a profitable launch on the Girl Fowl Johnson Wildflower Middle final week, the primary episode of “Girl Fowl” is now out there on podcast streaming platforms. Future episodes will embody a particular installment devoted to Girl Fowl and President Johnson’s love letters and a bonus interview with the couple’s daughter, Luci Baines Johnson. 

“I keep in mind we have been at a listening session, and I assumed, ‘Wow, this simply jogs my memory of going by means of my outdated childhood diaries or sitting with my grandma and going over her little scrapbooks,’” mentioned Sofia Vargas Karam, advertising communications supervisor of The Drag. “We actually wished to remember the fact that that is any person else’s voice and story that we’re telling in a really intimate means.”

Distinctive amongst The Drag’s productions for its intensive use of historic information and in-depth story-telling, the sequence is “in contrast to something that’s ever been made earlier than” for Karam. 

“My hope and my objective is to get individuals my age to take heed to (“Girl Fowl”) and fall in love with it,” Karam mentioned. “We will learn textbooks, and we are able to learn articles on-line, however lots of people don’t need to type by means of archives or plenty of letters and outdated handwriting only for enjoyable. So we did “Girl Fowl” in a cool means the place you have got all this content material in a single place with cute and attention-grabbing audio.”

New episodes might be launched each Tuesday. Robert Quigley, founding father of The Drag and govt producer of the podcast, mentioned he hopes pupil listeners can draw inspiration from Girl Fowl’s story.

“First girls are a fascination of the American public,” Quigley mentioned. “However listening to about (Girl Fowl’s) relationship struggles, how she hated her chemistry class or about her mates and the place they go to have enjoyable round Austin — it’s plenty of enjoyable. I believe college students will see plenty of themselves in her story.”