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Weed-Eating Goats in Prospect Park to Be Feted at Chevre Reception

 A herd of eight goats will spend the next few months eating weeds in Prospect Park.
A herd of eight goats will spend the next few months eating weeds in Prospect Park.
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Julie Maher Larsen c. WCS

PARK SLOPE — The herd of weed-eating goats that will munch their way across Prospect Park over the next few months will be welcomed with a reception featuring wine and — what else? — goat cheese, the Prospect Park Alliance announced Monday.

The Alliance hired eight goats from Rhinebeck, N.Y. to clear out invasive species such as goutweed and weeds such as poison ivy in the park's Vale of Cashmere, the New York Times first reported. After the goats remove the harmful plant species, the alliance will replace them with native trees and plants including white oak and spicebush, an Alliance spokeswoman said.

The goats, which cost $15,000 to rent, will spend the spring and summer in three fenced pens near the Zucker Natural Exploration Area where park visitors will be able to visit them, according to the Alliance.

The goats won't have traditional goatherds minding them, but the Alliance's landscape management crew will supervise the four-legged work crew and provide them with water, but no food, so they stay hungry enough to focus on their task, an Alliance spokeswoman said.

The public is also invited to celebrate the goats' arrival at a May 19 party. Attendees can meet the goats' handlers, learn more about the animals' role in sprucing up the park, and eat the tangy cheese produced by their species.

The May 19 party is an adults-only event, but families and children can meet the goats (and perhaps their kids) on May 22. The alliance will host a child-friendly day of goat-themed activities including goat's milk ice cream making.

To mark the goats' arrival, the alliance has also posted Goat Fun Facts online. They include a tidbit about how goats may have discovered coffee after a farmer noticed his herd was particularly energetic after eating "a certain type of berry."

For full details on the events celebrating the goats, check the Prospect Park Alliance website.