Home > Eco-Goats to the Rescue!

Eco-Goats to the Rescue!

We need your support to bring goats to HNC’s Sheelah Dunn Dooley Nature Sanctuary where they will eat weedy invasive plants, helping to improve habitat for the numerous native species of plants and animals that depend on it. Read on to learn more about the project and how you can donate and get involved!

We need your help to:

  • purchase fencing to keep the goats safe
  • provide transportation for the goats to get to the property throughout the season
  • support the Student Goat Caretakers

We have a generous donor who will match all donations up to $10,000. We need your support to enable us to undertake this important and innovative project.

Donations can be made in the following ways:

Background

The Hamilton Naturalists’ Club (HNC) permanently protected its ninth nature sanctuary thanks to the incredible generosity of Sheelah and Martin Dooley. The 52 acre Sheelah Dunn Dooley Nature Sanctuary is located in Aldershot (Burlington) and is a mix of steep wooded ravine, open seasonally wet meadow, and shrub thicket habitats for numerous species including endangered American Columbo and Eastern Flowering Dogwood.

The property lies in the middle of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System which is a collaboration between nine local government and non-profit organizations who work together to protect and restore our natural lands and secure additional natural lands to create ecological corridors. In addition, the partners work together and with other local environmental groups to deliver sustainable recreation and education opportunities. The Sheelah Dunn Dooley Nature Sanctuary is a key part of an important north-south connection in the EcoPark System.

HNC is caring for the nature sanctuary with a focus on managing invasive plant species that are hindering the growth of native plants, which reduces the quality of the habitat. Some of the invasive plants include common buckthorn, dog-strangling vine, multiflora rose and phragmites. Managing these species will help to improve wildlife habitat for the numerous common and at-risk species that depend on the property. A variety of management techniques will be used including mechanical, chemical and the use of goats to eat unwanted invasive plants.

Goats are becoming recognized as invasive species management champions. HNC will be the first in the region to employ goats to help manage buckthorn and multiflora rose over an extended period of time. The goats will be working in specific areas of the nature sanctuary over the summer. HNC is fortunate to have a team of Niagara College Ecosystem Restoration students developing an invasive species management plan for the nature sanctuary. This plan will define the work areas for the goats. It will also outline a monitoring plan for HNC to follow to determine the impact the goats have on the invasive plants over time.

There will be several opportunities to visit with the goats, as well as volunteer opportunities. The schedule and registration details will be posted on HNC’s website and Facebook page. All current public health protocols will be followed for the activities. Meet the goats and learn about the important work they are doing, thanks to the donors that will help fund this program! Stay tuned for upcoming events.

If you have questions please contact Jen Baker at 905-524-3339 or land@hamiltonnature.org.