By Kody Wohlers, Natural Resources Technician & Kate Simmons, Community Relations Coordinator
Be prepared to see some new faces the next time you visit Hitchcock Nature Center! Grazing cattle and goats are being employed by park staff to help further our long-range land management goals & we are so happy to have them at the park.
Our grazing crew will be on site through the month of June & will be housed in an area adjacent to the campground, stretching northwest near Hohneke Trail and Bunker Hill & will be visible to park users in that area on a daily basis.
Park users are asked to keep their distance & not approach our new staff members. To keep the animals & our guests safe their paddock will be enclosed with an electrified fence, it is clearly marked & highly visible but we do ask you to give these fences a wide berth. Please respect the animals, as they are not pets and are here to do a job for our land.
Grazing animals are a huge part of our efforts to restore this beautiful land back to a healthier prairie ecosystem. We have worked with small grazers, such as goats, in the past & large grazers, such as cattle, are the next step in our plan. Large grazers provide numerous ecological benefits for the overall system including invasive species removal, nutrient recycling through their waste & so much more. We are really hopeful that our cattle crew will help us chew off cool season grasses, such as brome & Kentucky bluegrass, to reduce competition for summer season natives helping them to thrive. Our goat crew will be on brush patrol to help us chew down our undesirable woody vegetation in these areas to create more savanna at Hitchcock Nature Center.
Watch for more updates on Facebook & Instagram as our grazing crew gets to work this summer.