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Goats In The Garden Project

Garden management can be GOAT-ally awesome!

>> Urban Ecology Program

Did you hear? We got some goats!

With the generous support of the Anita Berry Martin Memorial Fund at North Texas Community Foundation, the Garden hosted a small herd of goats (plus some sheep friends) to help us clean up the Native Texas Boardwalk!

  • WHAT: Goats to eat the weeds
    WHEN: April 5-15, 2024 
  • WHERE: Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Native Texas Boardwalk
  • HOW: Funding from Anita Berry Martin Memorial Fund at North Texas Community Foundation


The 3-acre Native Texas Boardwalk (NTB) area at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden currently includes exotic invasive plant species such as privet, nandina, and photinia as well as aggressive native plant species such as cherry laurel, greenbriar, and muscadine. These unwanted species have spread through the area, outcompeting and negatively impacting mature trees and outpacing our ability to control them. Historically, natural processes such as fires, flooding, and grazing together maintained the ecological balance of native Texas forests. So in the absence of resident grazing animals here at the Garden, we’re hoping a borrowed band of browsing goats will fill this ecosystem gap and help tip the management scales back in our favor.

Goat herd grazing is a management strategy already in practice by nature centers, airports, ranches, and private residences in Texas and other states. Research shows positive impacts of goat grazing, including decreased fire fuels, increased species diversity, and soil enriched by goat waste. The benefits of selectively allowing goats to graze on our site should include fewer manhours devoted to manual and mechanical invasive species removal and reduced or eliminated use of motorized and heavy equipment operations, thereby reducing emissions and providing a quieter, more positive experience for guests.

Online Outreach Pieces:

A Research Opportunity

With the help of an undergraduate student intern, the Horticulture and Research teams collected data during this pilot project to determine whether goat grazing is a viable option for long-term managment at the Garden. Data collection includes photo monitoring, vegetation transects, and bioblitzes and will continue for at least 12 months after the grazing event. All findings will be shared here so watch this space!

  • Bioblitzes: to assess diversity of both plants and nonnplants in the Boardwalk before and after the grazing event and as the habitat recovers over time. Blitz data can be viewed at the Goats In The Garden Project page at iNaturalist.
  • Photo monitoring: to visualize the change over time across the Boardwalk [timelapse gifs coming soon…]
  • Vegetation transects: to quantify changes to plant species and plant cover over time



Part of documenting the effect the goats have on the vegetation included recording video of behaviors and capturing timelapse footage of the goats at work.

In The News

Word of a good thing travels fast! Check out some of the press we’ve received on the project so far!


This project would not be possible without funding from the Anita Berry Martin Memorial Fund at North Texas Community Foundation. North Texas Community Foundation drives meaningful change through charitable investment. The Foundation helps donors meet the needs of our community by providing tax-efficient strategies to support the causes they care about most. At the core of everything they do is a network of generous individuals, families and businesses intent on shaping the future of North Texas for good, forever. The Foundation has $519 million in assets and made grants totaling approximately $30 million in 2021. Learn more at

Goats eating vegetation at the Native Texas Boardwalk
goats eating Nandina domestica

Research Team