Governors Island will welcome some unconventional gardeners this summer.
For the second year in a row, the team at Trust for Governors Island is partnering with Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany to host five sheep named Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries. The fluffy flock will be in charge of keeping the island's biodiversity intact by removing (or rather, eating) some invasive plant species in Hammock Grove's urban forest. Last year, the sheep managed to get rid of over eight acres of invasive plants.
Sheep are herbivores, and love munching on herbaceous plants such as phragmites and flowering plants like mugwort, both of which are invasive species. These plants have a tendency to expand at the detriment of other species, and if not kept under control, they can create a monoculture. By eating them, the sheep will be able to prevent them from spreading, and Governors Island's diversity will be preserved.
Of course, the flock isn't the only team tasked with saving Governors Island's flora this summer. A fully functioning horticulture team is in place, but by using the sheep's efficient help, they can focus on other important duties.
"We are thrilled to welcome our four-legged landscapers back to Governors Island. They may be cute and fuzzy, but these hardworking sheep also provide an incredible service to the Island by supporting our horticulture team in clearing invasive species that otherwise would harm our growing urban forest in Hammock Grove," said Clare Newman, President and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island, AMNY reports. "Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries will help provide a groomed and beautifully maintained green space this summer for all of our visitors to enjoy."