If you walk around the outside parts of Normandale's campus by the hiking trail (between lots 4 and 5) for the next week, you might notice some new visitors to the campus.
These visitors are a group of goats that will be grazing around the 20 acres of wooded space that makes up the Normandale hiking trail to help get rid of the significant buckthorn growth. The goats were released into the hiking trail area on September 23, and will be grazing in that area for the next week.
If you are walking around hiking trail area, please stay outside of and be careful of the electric fenced area. Also, please be sure maintain to also maintain social distancing measures.
In the winter of 2019, Minnesota Native Landscapes mowed down about five acres of buckthorn. Instead of following up by using herbicide treatment, Normandale is working with Minnesota Native Landscapes to use the goats as a natural treatment. This type of treatment for Buckthorn is not new and has been used in Hennepin County as well as most counties within the Metro area including within city limits.
Buckthorn is a very prolific seeder and it is very hard to stop re-growth so a longer-range plan is necessary. Buckthorn is listed as a noxious weed in Minnesota, requiring us to treat it as mandated by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.