There are some hard-working Clemson employees on campus this summer, but they’re a little different from your typical faculty and staff.
For the fourth year in a row, a herd of hungry goats has arrived on campus to devour dense tangles of invasive plants that have plagued portions of campus for decades. For several weeks, within the confines of an electric fence, they’ll be eating just about everything within reach in an attempt to clean an area of Hunnicutt Creek near Thornhill Village. Kudzu, Chinese privet, silverthorn, English ivy, nandina, liriope and honeysuckle are all on their menu. After the goats finish their work, a team of students will remove debris and further spruce up the area.
Researcher Cal Sawyer calls Hunnicutt Creek “an amazing natural resource for us,” but one that “is hidden behind a wall of invasive vegetation.” Sawyer, an associate professor in agricultural sciences, would like to restore a long-lost view of the creek using a strategy that includes “prescribed grazing, mechanical methods, and interested, enthusiastic students.”