By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Staff Writer | Published November 1, 2018
ATLANTA—Rented goats visited the campus of Marist School Oct. 16-23 upon the invitation of environmental science students and their teacher Kelly Mandy.
Students in Mandy’s science classes began researching ways to help restore riparian zones along the banks of the school’s Nancy Creek.
Riparian zones are the 50-foot areas that border rivers and other bodies of surface water. The zones provide environmental and recreational benefits to streams, groundwater as well as land downstream. At the school’s creek property, invasive plant species such as Chinese privet, English ivy, mimosa and kudzu are harmful to the zones. They keep native plants that are beneficial from flourishing.
“It’s a project-based class,” explained Mandy.
Students look at the surrounding environment, and problems or issues and scientific ways to address them.
“They really design projects out of that,” she said. “We have a real problem with erosion at the creek.”
In the past, a group of students brought in sheep to help munch invasive plants on the campus off Ashford Dunwoody Road. But this year’s class turned to goats.
Get Your Goats is a local company that rents the animals for brush clearing. The company brought 30 goats to the campus, ranging in age from 2 to 6 years old and representing two different breeds of goats.
“I’ve never seen such excitement about farm animals,” said Mandy.
The students placed posters around campus promoting the goats’ work and to raise awareness about the issue. The cafeteria staff even made goat cupcakes, said Mandy.
The high school students created a lesson for the pre-kindergarten students at the Marist Early Learning Center.
Mandy said Marist School is very supportive of taking classroom lessons outdoors.
It was fun for students and the Marist community to watch the goats at work, said the teacher.
“They eat all the greenery,” she said.
The students followed the goats to pull up the roots left behind.
Read Photographer Michael Alexander’s blog post about the Marist goats here.