NYC’s Latest Residents: Five Hungry Sheep

NEW YORK -
Sheep graze on cover crop in Napa, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

New York City’s newest in-person workers do nothing but wander around outside and snack.

Five sheep have moved into Governors Island to clear plants and control field growth as part of the island’s nonprofit owners plan to create a park full of trees and local flowers.

Using farm animals for landscaping maintenance has historical precedent; Central Park’s Sheep Meadow gets its name from the practice. Sheep can maintain grass growth, fertilize the land, and prevent unsightly plants from taking over.

Sheep and goats being utilized for landscaping has become an increasingly popular way to clear areas in an environmentally friendly and fun way, with farmers, landowners, and delighted neighborhood children enjoying the site of the animals transforming an overrun field into a neat area in a few days or even hours.

On the 172-acre Governors Island, the sheep will eat invasive plants that would overrun the natural flowers while island staff can focus on planting 1,2000 trees for a small forest, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Malcom Gore, senior gardener for the Trust for Governors Island, told the paper that the sheep will be more effective than lawn equipment, and will cut down on artificial fertilizers that might damage the health of the new trees.

“I’ve been mowing for the past two years and it’s a lot of work,” he said.

The five sheep, Chad, Flour, Evening, Philip Aries and Sam, typically live at a farm in Albany. Their owner, Kim Tateo, said it was an “adventure” to drive five curious farm animals through the noisy streets of New York City, but the sheep are right at home grazing and wandering on Governors Island.

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smarcus@hamodia.com