Sheep, goats munch on Airport land
Hartsfield-Jackson on September 12 invited the media and guests to meet its new group of part-time landscapers: a hungry herd of 91 sheep and 10 goats.
The animals were enlisted to eat down invasive vegetation at an Airport-owned plot of land off Riverdale Road. Inside the fenced enclosure, the sheep and goats did what they do best — eat — while two Anatolian shepherds guarded them against predators and a border collie kept them in line.
The pilot project, financed through anonymous donors, was in conjunction with Trees Atlanta, which works with Ewe-niversally Green and its head shepherd, Brian Cash, to bring invasive vegetation under control so that native plant species can thrive.
The process is environmentally friendly, because it reduces the need for harmful chemicals and gas-powered machines to maintain landscapes such as the Airport’s one-acre site.
“We are constantly thinking of innovative ways to make the Airport more efficient, and we are eager to determine whether sheep grazing will be an effective tool to maintain the Airport’s landscape,” said Aviation General Manager Louis Miller.
The sheep and goats began their work on September 10 and continued through that week.
Chris Davis, assistant director of Maintenance, managed the project for the Airport and now is evaluating the results of the trial period and the feasibility of bringing sheep and goats to other Airport land.
“We have a real opportunity here to clear out property that may be hard to access with equipment and to address some property that never has been cut before,” he said. “The cost is still an unknown, but, even if the cost is the same, using sheep and goats would be a plus from an environmental standpoint.”
The herd of 91 sheep and 10 goats heads toward Brian Cash, lead shepherd with Ewe-niversally Green, and Lambert, an Anatolian shepherd dog who stays with them at all times to ward off coyotes and other predators in the area.
The sheep and goats were on a patch of land within sight of the runway. In the background, a Southwest Airlines jet lands.
Pete the border collie engages in a stare-down with a goat in the herd.
Pete takes a relaxing dip after herding sheep and goats.
© 2012 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.