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Make it possible for goats to enhance more of our parks

Sixty-eight goats from Lytton, collectively named the Hungry Herd, were hard at work making Loomis Park look better.

Owned by Doug and Jamie Bartels, the goats are rented out cities and other parties. The animals relish consuming plants that most of us regard as unsightly weeds. Their eating habits help make public green areas look nicer without the need for expensive weeding endeavors by humans.

“Basically, on a deal like this where it’s overgrown, we bring them in, section it off, and they basically just eat and clean it up,” Doug Bartels told The Messenger recently. “It’s a win-win situation for both parties. It’s not very labor-intensive. As soon as we get the fence up, the goats do most of the work.”

His wife elaborated on why this is good news for park lovers. She said it helps get rid of invasive plants that don’t let the grass grow.

“Hopefully it brings more people to the park and makes the park a little prettier,” Jamie Bartels said.

The project at Loomis Park was being supported financially by the Fort Dodge Parks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises funds to pay for park enhancement projects that aren’t in the city’s budget. Jeff Becker, the foundation’s president, said if more donations are forthcoming it may be possible to put the goats to work in making other parks look nicer. Donations are potentially tax deductible. They can be sent to Fort Dodge Parks Foundation, P.O. Box 1652, Fort Dodge, IA 50501.

The Messenger urges readers to back the foundation’s efforts to help keep our parks a source of local pride. Its efforts to address park needs that go beyond what the city is able to fund are a valuable undertaking that deserve ongoing community support.

Donations now might make it possible for the goats to return to other parks. That would be good news for Fort Dodge. And also for the goats.

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