Goats hired to cleanup Virginia Governor Mansion grounds

Goats hired to cleanup Virginia Governor Mansion grounds

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s quite the sight to see in downtown Richmond. Goats are now working on the steep hill behind the Governor’s Executive Mansion.

“Goats are safe, affordable and a sustainable way to take of invasives in our environment and they’re just a lot of fun,” said Pamela Northam, Virginia First Lady.

Northam says the four-legged friends from RVA Goats and Honey are clearing out plant species like English Ivy, Virginia Creeper and Poison Ivy. The area is too steep for machines or humans to do the work.

“It’s much more fun to watch them do what they do rather than you be in the woods pulling and getting scratched by vines, getting poison ivy rashes and things like that,” said Kristi Orcutt, owner of RVA Goats and Honey.

Native plants will go back into the ground to make the area more pollinator-friendly. Northam says one out of every three bites of food you take is thanks to a pollinator.

“We do that because we care about our pollinators and our pollinator plants, and we’re excited here at the executive mansion to walk the walk, not just talk the talk,” said Northam.

Chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides, are not an option either because they don’t want any of it in water runoff that ends up in the James River.

Since moving in, Northam says they’ve worked to make the grounds more sustainable by growing vegetables and changing out dead or dying plants with native ones.

“We are so honored to be the current stewards of this historical treasure and we want to make sure we pass it on even better than we found it,” said Northam.

The goat work should wrap up in a couple of days.

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