Honors Bio Students Study Goats on Campus in Ecology Unit
Harvey is fortunate to have access to lands that are great examples of local ecosystems and also be hosting a herd of goats assisting in the removal and management of an infestation of invasive vines and plants on campus.
To kick off their unit on Ecology, Upper School science teacher Ms. Franco took her honors biology classes to see the goats in action on campus as they help in the fight against invasive species. In conjunction with Bedford 2030, the Fat and Sassy goats of Beacon, New York, have been on campus several times since 2022 clearing overgrown parts of our 125 acres in an environmentally healthy way. The goats have cleared 2 acres of land and continue to return to campus to manage the regrowth of the invasive plants.
Ms. Franco and her students talked about the differences between producers and consumers, how goats as ruminants are specially designed to digest plants high in cellulose, and how this form of invasive species management is more environmentally friendly than the alternatives.
"The students were tasked with collecting evidence and observations to help identify the species of invasive plants when we got back to the classroom," said Ms. Franco. "As an educator in science, I love to bring to life the material we learn in class whenever I can. Not only does this keep the students engaged, but it allows them to see how science literacy can help them navigate through life," she said.
Not to mention, it looks like a lot of fun, too.