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Neighbors of DuPage

Goats return to feast at Downers Grove Park District

Aug 02, 2017 10:26AM ● By Ben Scott

A herd of 68 goats and sheep graze at two natural areas at the Downers Grove Park District from Aug. 1 to 19.

For the fourth year, goats and sheep will graze natural areas maintained by the Downers Grove Park District. From August 1 to 19, a herd of 68 goats and sheep will assist with natural brush management over 5.8 acres at the Belmont Prairie Buffer located on Walnut Avenue and 1.2 acres at Patriots Park located at 55th Street and Grand Avenue in Downers Grove.

The District has contracted this service with Vegetation Solutions, a Wisconsin-based green business focused on vegetation management through controlled grazing. Ben Robel, owner of Vegetation Solutions, has offered this natural grazing service to both rural and urban locations for over eight years. “Communities are intrigued by this unique method of natural area management. Everyone wants to see the goats at work.”

The herd will spend one week at each location eating a variety of plants including common buckthorn, honeysuckle, roses, spotted knapweed, Queen Anne’s lace and even poison ivy. During their visit, the animals will clear approximately 6 feet of browse line reducing the growth height. Clearing the invasive species will allow favorable plants to grow in these areas.

The livestock will be kept in their paddock by a low-voltage electric fence. The District asks for visitors to keep themselves and leashed dogs away from the fence during this time. Keep in mind that the goats are working during their visit—please look, but don’t touch.

For more information and maps of grazing areas, please visit