Thumbs up: Officials at Gifford Pinchot State Park win points for thinking outside the box in finding a natural solution to nuisance vegetation at the campground.
A local farmer has been dropping off four or five of her goats every morning at the campground, where the animals graze until late afternoon on the park's unwanted vegetation, including poison ivy, honeysuckle, oriental bittersweet and multi-flora rose.
Using goats saves park staff time and resources used to manage invasive plants, said Bob Deffner, the park's manager, who added the park can use fewer chemicals, like herbicides, on the plants.
"Goats like to eat the woody vegetation," he said. "They love to eat vines, high brush, brambles and weeds. And goat droppings add nutrients back to the soil."
Deffner said he got the goat idea from his sister, who has a farm in the western part of Pennsylvania and uses goats to manage woody vegetation.
The goats will be grazing at the park until late May or early June. They graze within metal fencing panels that can be moved to different park areas as needed.
The fences have signs explaining the park's goat program and instructs the public not to disturb, play with or feed the animals.
"The goats are here to do a job," Deffner said. "They're working."
Thumbs up: Officials at Briarwood Golf Club also took a unique approach to dealing with a nuisance. And while it might not have worked out, they get an "A" for hilarious effort.
To scare away the 200 to 300 Canada geese that have set up house on the 36-hole course, the grounds crew of the West Manchester Township facility are using a plastic statue of a coyote to try to intimidate waterfowl.
Unfortunately for Briarwood, Canada geese aren't easily scared ... at least not by plastic coyotes.
"The locals, the resident geese that never leave, they've just pretty much adopted it as friends," said club manager Rick Saxon, sounding just a bit dejected. "So it's not ... it's not doing anything."
We bet that's not true.
It's probably entertaining countless golfers, some of whom offered their own suggestions for dealing with the flock.
"I've seen reflective tape put around ponds; that seems to keep the geese away," one said. "Of course, if Rick came out naked and waved a flag around, that would work, too."
Or perhaps an Acme product?