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Earth action heroes: Goats gobble up buckthorn

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Bloomington Briefing Published March 22, 2021

Ready for some good goat gazing? You’re in luck if you missed the goats gorging on invasive buckthorn at Normandale Community College, 9700 France Avenue South, last fall.

The herd is coming back. Look for the goats around September and October. This comes on the tail of last year’s success. The goats proved to be more than efficient buckthorn eaters; they were fun to watch and became a popular spectacle. 

“We heard so much positive feedback, people would be upset if we wouldn’t be bringing them back again,” Normandale Environmental Health and Safety Administrator Jon Hansen said.

Besides being fun to watch, the goats promote sustainability and uphold the college’s core values for effective and respectful stewardship of natural resources. No chemicals are needed to eliminate buckthorn when these browsers are at work. Goats put their teeth into buckthorn removal. They like to graze all day long at all levels. Standing on their hind legs, they can reach several feet high. From their heads to their hooves, goats are ideal buckthorn busters. The noxious plant is no match for a herd of 30 hungry goats.

The goats will graze over a two-acre area of the college’s trail system on the west side. Once it’s cleared, they’ll move to an adjoining three-acre area. A double fence with an inner electrical barrier will keep the herd contained. 

You don’t have to wait for the goats to appear to enjoy a nature break. Normandale Community College has an extensive network of hiking trails, and anyone is welcome to visit.

To see last year’s goats in action, go to For other information, visit or call 952-358-8200.

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