Glen’s Got Your Goats

Donor support of the Glen Arboretum helps revitalization

The Glen Arboretum, a serene expanse of woodland that stretches from behind the University Union to Stephens Hall, has existed in various states of revitalization since 1913. The Glen’s most recent rejuvenation began in 2013, fueled by a grant from BGE to support English ivy removal and restoration projects. BGE’s first grant encouraged a dramatic increase in student participation with nearly 200 students engaged in activities. BGE has continued its grant support over the past five years, aiding in the removal of invasive species; the planting of 189 trees, 153 shrubs, and 1,320 perennials; and allowing for 705 volunteers to participate in Glen restoration projects.

Since the fall of 2014, the Glen has also been abuzz with activity every fall thanks to some visitors, a herd of goats from Harmony Church Farm. (Unfortunately, their visit was rained out this year.) After swarms of ground bees kept student volunteers from clearing tree growth, James Hull, professor emeritus and director of the Glen Arboretum, suggested hiring goats using part of the BGE grant. The goats have been incredibly successful in removing invasive shrubs and vines, but they may be most successful in raising interest around the Glen restoration efforts. Hull was surprised by the surge of student and media attention around the goats. “There is no question that the goats have contributed to public and campus awareness. Faculty try to plan their courses around the arrival of the goats, and students simply love them,” Hull says. He estimates that the goats have encouraged more than $45,000 worth of media coverage opportunities, reaching 69 million people. The attention also contributed to the Glen Arboretum Fund seeing a more than 340 percent increase in donor support last year.

With the help of BGE, other donors—and the goats—TU has made significant progress in revitalizing the Glen and ensuring it continues to be an important educational and cultural component of the community. However, maintaining the health and vitality of the Glen is an ongoing effort. Hull reports that 99 percent of tree vines and 50 to 75 percent of invasive plants have been removed, yet he cautions, “We have to go back to the same area for at least three years to be rid of the plants that were there, and new introductions occur continuously.”

To support the Glen Arboretum Fund, visit Arboretum or call 1-866-301-3375.