Brainerd Church Uses Goats to Clear Out Invasive Plants on Property
The goats are coming! Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brainerd recently brought in goats to help weed out buckthorn on their property and teach kids about the outdoors.
Overrun with the invasive plant buckthorn, the Bethlehem Creation Care Team is undertaking a project to clean an acre of undeveloped church property. Crow Wing County has suggested that goats are a great way to take care of buckthorn, which led the church to reach out to Brainerd Lakes Goats for assistance.
Unfortunately, nothing is free, and this was going to cost money. Bethlehem Evangelical successfully got a $1,000 grant from the Northeast Lutheran Church Senate.
Put on the DNR’s list of invasive specials, Buckthorn is a shrub with multiple berries. These berries have many seeds that hit the ground and take over land.
Goats are very good at eating brush up to six feet high and controlling buckthorn. They do not eradicate or eliminate the plant, but they give landowners a chance to take back land that might be overgrown.
At Bethlehem Evangelical, goats didn’t kill but instead ate the plant down to the base, leaving some work to be done by the Creation Care Team. The team has to go back in later in the year and dig up the roots and stumps by hand.
The main reason for all of this is to have kids closer to nature. Some of the church’s classes will be on the world around them and pollination specifically.
After property cleanup and site preparation with natural planting, the church will use its space to open pollinator gardens and hold Sunday bible learning events. This will also be an opportunity to create nature paths benefiting the local area and schools.