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The Mountaineers, Washington Native Plant Society and Goats team up to Plant a Native Garden

How do people, plants and animals work together to reclaim an ugly, overgrown slope and turn it into a place of beauty? Teamwork!

The Mountaineers, one of the largest recreational user groups of public lands, helps to manage land use through policy and practice. Their goals for a project at Magnuson Park in Seattle:

  1. provide a “classroom” for learning to identify native plants
  2. supply examples of native plants suitable for home gardens
  3. restore native habitat for wildlife

In order to reach their goals, The Mountaineers worked through many phases, the first of which was to refurbish a building at the northwest corner of Magnuson Park. The next step was to install native plants around the building.

The area surrounding the new, developing garden was an acre of invasive plants, Himalayan blackberries. Permission was granted and the removal of the blackberries began. How do you remove such a daunting thicket of blackberries? Goats: 65 goats to be exact. The Nubian goats worked/ate while the Mountaineers volunteered over 800 hours to eradicate the blackberries and reclaim the area with native plants. Along with other contributors, the Washington Native Plant Society was able to support this huge undertaking with a grant of $500.00 and volunteer support from WNPS Native Plant Steward Jeanne Eisenberg and others. The grant was used to fund the placement of educational signage that includes 185 individual plant identification labels bearing both common and scientific names.

After 2 years and over 2,000 volunteer hours, the Mountaineers Native Garden is growing into a healthy, maintenance phase. No more goats needed.

Mountaineers native plant garden
The Mountaineers garden is growing into a healthy, maintenance phase.

Mountaineers native plant garden and goats
Sixty-five Nubian goats ate invasive Himalayan blackberries so the area could be revegetated.




Updated: March 5, 2015
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