Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kudzu-eating sheep to feast at Chastain Park, other local greenspaces

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Imagine being placed in a field that's covered with the most delicious culinary treats you could possibly want. The kind you crave but know you shouldn't eat in large quantities. Chocolate rivers next to acres of donuts, Twinkies, and pastries.

For a herd of 100 sheep working this summer for Trees Atlanta, that's reality.

The arbor-loving non-profit is leading a reforestation project in Chastain Park called "Have Ewe Heard?" to protect the existing tree canopy from invasive plants.

The sheep, hired from Ewe-Niversally Green, will clear invasive plants, mainly privets and kudzu, from the park with the lowest impact possible. For these ruminants, privets and kudzu are special delights, similar to the ones you were drooling over seconds ago. Not only are the plants delicious, they're extremely healthy and nutritious for the animals.

Trees Atlanta expects it'll take roughly two weeks for the sheep, which can clear up to 150 square feet of vegetation every day, to clean up the two acres at Chastain. When they finish, they'll move to other parks throughout the city, clearing the invasive weeds, and protecting the city's urban forest. The sheep will work for six months, take a six-month break, and start their work again in June 2013.

To celebrate the start of the project, Trees Atlanta will host a one-hour "Breakfast with the Sheep" on June 8th at 9 a.m. The public is welcomed to dine with the animals at Chastain Park Conservancy. For all us non-legume eating folks, a free breakfast is provided by the Buckhead Ritz-Carlton.

Worried about the protection of the four-legged weed vacuums or for the little boys and girls frolicking in the park? Don't be. Guard dogs and a human shepherd will be guarding the sheep.

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