Close up image of brown and white goat

You might call them experts in their field.

About 435 goats are on campus as the welcome guests of Whitman College. Their objective? Graze around two acres of land near the athletic complex.

"We are really excited to have the goats come in and clean out an area that has been overgrown for so long, and it has a sustainability side to it, too," said Grounds Supervisor Jeff Jensen. "This way we do not have to use herbicides to clear all the unwanted weeds."

The herd belongs to Petty Family Goats in Pomeroy, Washington. Their owner, Sage Petty, keeps tabs on the four-legged landscapers with the help of two herding dogs and a Great Pyrenees guard dog. This is the first time Whitman has used goats for vegetation management.

"Goats prefer to browse brushy and weedy species, so they are an effective way to clear invasive species and overgrown areas without using fossil fuel-powered machinery and herbicides," said Elissa Brown, campus sustainability coordinator.

The goats get to munch to their hearts' content before heading home at the end of the week. 

Herd of goats grazing

Goats munch on overhanging vegetation

Goats grazing on a slight inclince