Fundraising to bring back goats

       Goats will not be munching weeds at Bear Creek Regional Park this spring or summer, but - with a little monetary help from friends and supporters - they might be back in the fall.
       Char Nymann, president of the nonprofit Bear Creek Garden Association (BCGA), is asking people to donate to the “We Love Goats” fundraising campaign.
       The association prefers using goats on a 19-acre area of parks land for which it is responsible southeast of 21st and Rio Grande streets. The idea is that such a natural method does a better job than chemical sprays at long-term control of state-identified noxious weeds.
       Aided by a $10,000 Colorado Garden and Home Show grant, the association hired weed specialist Lani Malmberg and her goat herd to come in for two one-week visits last year. Three consecutive years with goats are needed to obtain optimum results, according to Nymann. Even after just one year, “the noxious weed count has dropped dramatically in the grazed area, and wild grasses are thriving,” she states in a fundraising mailer dated March 21.
       The mailer also expresses hope for two goat visits (“early summer and fall”) this year. However, she clarified in a follow-up phone interview that the association only envisions a fall visit now.
       “Fall is the best grazing,” Nymann explained. To handle the spring-summer weed problems, she added, “our volunteers will go out and grub in places we know the weeds are.”
       The 19-acre area buffers the organic community garden that the county began letting the association use over 20 years ago. Excess produce is donated to charities.
       “We Love Goats” donations will be accepted from as low as $5 up to special “support levels” between $50 and $500.
       “Over a thousand people visited the goats and talked to Lani about her work when she was here in July and September,” Nymann writes in the association's March mailer, noting that a $10 donation from each of those people alone would raise $10,000.
       Donations can be mailed to: BCGA, P.O. Box 38326, Colorado Springs 80937-8326. For more information, call 473-5827.

Westside Pioneer article