Those of us in Scouting see poison ivy as a campout-ruining nuisance. Goats, as it turns out, see it as a delicious treat.
Gavin Burseth, a 16-year-old from Bartlett, Ill., is training the animals to help clear poison ivy from campgrounds at the Blackwell Forest Preserve, about 30 miles west of Chicago.
Why goats instead of machines or chemicals?
“Goats are cheaper. They’re more eco-friendly. Generally they eat all day,” Gavin told the Chicago Tribune. “And poison ivy doesn’t affect them like it does people.”
Gavin, still a few steps shy of the Eagle Scout Award, is closing in on another rare BSA honor: the William T. Hornaday Award, which many call “an Olympic medal bestowed by the earth.”
The goat project is the third project of three required for the Hornaday bronze medal. His others involved storm drains and water testing.
Once he finishes the necessary paperwork for the Hornaday Award, he’ll join an elite club. The BSA says about 1,100 Hornaday medals have been awarded since 1917. That would mean fewer than a dozen are awarded each year.
Read more about Gavin in the Chicago Tribune story.
Hat tip: Thanks to Troop 39 Scouter Greg Wojcicki for the blog idea!