! Alert

Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

Herd Around Town: Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Announces New Sheep Employees

...

NEW YORK (April 19, 2021)–Today, the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island offi­cial­ly intro­duced its five newest employ­ees to New York City — a fam­i­ly of five sheep. These fluffy friends — Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries — hail from Friends of Tivoli Lake Pre­serve and Farm in Albany and will spend the next four to five months on Gov­er­nors Island, help­ing to con­trol inva­sive plant species in beau­ti­ful Ham­mock Grove by eat­ing them. 

Sheep’s love for herba­ceous plants, such as grass­es, phrag­mites and flow­er­ing plants like mug­wort and sun­flow­ers make them a nat­ur­al fit to join the Island’s hor­ti­cul­tur­al divi­sion. Replete with such del­i­ca­cies (phrag­mites being the sheep’s favorite), the flock will live on the Island, enjoy­ing a lush grove and eat­ing its inva­sive plants all sum­mer long. 

The shear genius of this idea lies in its sim­plic­i­ty. On behalf of the thou­sands of New York­ers flock­ing to open space on Gov­er­nors Island every sea­son, I want to thank Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries for doing their part to bring New York City baaaack,” said May­or Bill de Bla­sio . Bön appetit, fellas.” 

The sheep are very hap­py to be join­ing us on Gov­er­nors Island for the sum­mer, and we are thrilled to have them here,” said Clare New­man, Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island . This inno­v­a­tive, envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly land­scap­ing pro­gram will pro­tect our Island’s plant life from inva­sive species while allow­ing our hor­ti­cul­ture team to spend their time on more pro­duc­tive pur­suits than weed­ing Ham­mock Grove. Our new sheep employ­ees have arrived at the per­fect time, and we wel­come their con­tri­bu­tions to help pro­tect the nat­ur­al land­scapes of Gov­er­nors Island.” 

Using ani­mals for veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment has many ben­e­fits — not only does it help reduce the vital­i­ty and spread of the plants, but it reduces the need for harm­ful her­bi­cides. The sheep also help return nutri­ents and car­bon back into the soil, cre­at­ing a health­i­er ecosys­tem for both native flo­ra and fau­na and park-goers. We are thrilled to expand our graz­ing efforts to Gov­er­nors Island and wel­come vis­i­tors to meet the rest of the flock and com­mu­ni­ty which will con­tin­ue man­ag­ing veg­e­ta­tion in Tivoli Lake Pre­serve and host­ing envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion activ­i­ties all sum­mer long,” said Kim Tateo, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and Farm Man­ag­er, Friends of Tivoli Lake Pre­serve and Farm .

Mug­wort, phrag­mites and oth­er inva­sive plant species have a com­pet­i­tive nature and crowd oth­er plant­i­ngs with­in the park, essen­tial­ly cre­at­ing a mono­cul­ture. The sheep eat­ing these herba­ceous plants helps to break down and weak­en them, pre­vent­ing them from flow­er­ing and the seeds spreading. 

Recruit­ing a herd of sheep is extreme­ly ben­e­fi­cial to the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island’s efforts to care for the park, as it reduces the time spent on inva­sive species removal to less than 30 per­cent of the gar­den­ing staff time. Hav­ing the sheep deal with the inva­sive plants allows the hor­ti­cul­ture team to focus more on the well-being of the trees and soil and ensure that the for­est in Ham­mock Grove thrives on Gov­er­nors Island. Pre­vi­ous­ly the hor­ti­cul­ture team was spend­ing a tremen­dous amount of time weed­ing, and the sheep rep­re­sent a cost effec­tive and eco-friend­ly solu­tion that allows the team to be more pro­duc­tive and efficient. 

Sheep are also unique­ly suit­ed to the work on Gov­er­nors Island, more so than goats or oth­er ani­mals, since their culi­nary tastes do not include tree bark. The sheep will eat around the young trees in Ham­mock Grove and focus on phrag­mites and oth­er del­i­ca­cies, while goats would devour vir­tu­al­ly any plant life they could get their hooves on, inva­sive or not. 

As a ges­ture of grat­i­tude to their new home city, the sheep pro­vid­ed vis­i­tors to their wel­come par­ty with a lunch of inva­sive plants and grass­es to all media in attendance.