Fund a Goat
We're bringing back the goats this year! No, we're not starting a petting zoo. These goats have a job to do – to eat. Goats are a great way to help restore the globally-rare bluff prairie at Freedom Park that has become clogged with overgrowth and invasive plants. You can help when you donate. Click here to fund a goat. The goats finished their work in a week last fall. With your help, we will bring them back in the late spring and early fall to continue their work. When you fund a goat you're helping us continue the restoration project. Thank you in advance for preserving this special habitat!
Israel Haas is the executive director of the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center at Freedom Park. He says, “Many people don’t realize that we’re sitting on a precious resource. The goat prairie is a globally rare habitat. Our bluff looks a little like a jungle right now. It’s overgrown and full of invasive species. That’s why I’m very excited about what goats could do for the bluff. They’re fun to watch, eco-friendly, and efficient. And they’ll help us restore this precious resource.”
A bluff prairie provides important nesting and resting places for migratory birds and pollinators, which have suffered massive declines in the last 50 years. More than 325 species of birds migrate every year along the Mississippi River Flyway, but over 2.5 billion of these migratory birds have been lost since 1970. This amounts to a 30% loss in population.
Freedom Park is doing its part to care for birds such as indigo buntings, Eastern bluebirds, yellow warblers, Baltimore orioles, and more. Eradicating invasive plants, cultivating native species, and managing the site through grazing and controlled burns will make the goat prairie an ideal place for these neo-tropical songbirds to stop on their journey.
That is where the goats come in. When the bluff gets overgrown it is difficult to manage due to the steep and rugged terrain. Goats have no problem on the bluff’s steep decline and love to eat the invasive plants they can reach within their portable fencing. Goats are a preferred solution because they work fast, penetrate tough-to-reach areas easily, and are eco-friendly.
Prairie bluff restoration is one of the park's top priority projects. This project will continue through 2029 with an estimated total cost of $69,700. It will showcase the successful preservation of a rare plant community for the more than 15,000 guests from all over the world who visit Freedom Park in a normal year.
If you resonate with this effort, love prairie restoration, or maybe just want to be able to say you bought a goat, you can donate to the cause HERE.