RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. - In the city of Rancho Palos Verdes it’s common to find dozens and dozens of goats grazing on the hilltops as the weather begins to warm up. The grazing goats clear away invasive weeds to make room for native plants and prevent brush fires.
Claire Littleford came with her family after school to one of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s 22 sites to visit the goats and see what they do firsthand.
“They cut down the weeds and they need to be cut down because else they would catch on the wildfires,” Claire said.
The Littleford family is one of 400 donors to make a $100 donation to help restore the land by adopting a goat with the PVPLC to help make room for native plants. Their donation helped to clear one acre of invasive weeds and also gave the family an up-close look at how the goats clear the land with a family photo opp.
“We chose to do it because we value the land that’s here and that it needs to be restored and it’s such a cool way to keep sort of the weeds that are not indigenous to the area out,” said Claire's mom, Anna Littleford.
This year’s more than 17 inches of rainfall brought more Italian thistle and yellow mustard plants than the usual number of 300 goats could graze on. In fact, the yellow mustard in some sites has grown to be over eight feet tall.
That’s why the organization had to double the herd and extend grazing this year by an extra month to take care of all the overgrowth and prep the land to be restored with native plants. The extra herd comes as an additional cost to the PVPLC, that’s why the organization said it's in need of more families like Claire’s to help sponsor a goat with a donation.
“We are working hard to make sure we bring the goats out at the right time and we get the weeds before they dry out and the goats will still eat them, and making sure that we are protecting all of our resources out here as well,” Cris Sarabia with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy said.
Anna Littleford said she’s hoping that this experience creates a teachable moment for her daughters.
“I really want them to be a part of a movement that wants to preserve that and keep that alive,” Littleford said.
As the family watched the goats graze and move around the site, Claire’s attention was glued on the hundreds of natural weed eaters.
Claire’s family got a firsthand experience in seeing how this nonprofit works to preserve the land. Now, they’re hoping more people will help to keep these goats grazing and become a part of this herd.
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy depends on donations to help protect and restore native plants to 22 sites with the help of the goats during the Spring.
To make a donation, click here.