Landscaping sheep return to Governors Island


Meet five of Governors Island’s most popular landscape designers.

Five sheep will spend their summer in the former military base turned into a park with one mission: to hang out in the young urban forest of the Hammock Grove section of the island, munching on unwanted invasive plants. This is their second summer on the island.

“Bringing the sheep on board last year was really an innovation from our horticulture team thinking about how to deal with these invasive species in a much more efficient and much more environmentally friendly way,” said said Clare Newman, president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island.

What do you want to know

  • Five sheep have returned to Governors Island for the summer
  • The sheep are part of the effort to control invasive plant species in the Hammock Grove urban forest area on the island
  • They come from a farm in Albany
  • The sheep are called Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries

Invasive species can take over an area like Hammock Grove, leaving little room for any kind of biodiversity.

“The more species of plants you have, the more flowers you have at different times of the year, and the more beautiful butterflies and birds we get using them,” said Leo Frampton, a seasonal gardener on the island.

Head Gardener Malcolm Gore says his team is happy to have the sheep back. The animals come from Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany. Gore says he thinks the sheep are happy to be back here too, for what is really an all-you-can-eat plant buffet.

“When they arrived, they immediately recognized the place, immediately started eating,” said Gore, who noted that when they arrived last year, it took them a few days to eat the plants. of the island.

All of this leaves more time for Gore and his team to focus on trees and planting around the island, instead of constantly removing invasive plants. The arrival of the sheep is a reunion for all involved.

“It was like they recognized me, recognized my voice, they came this morning,” Gore said.

“Yeah, they knew me,” Frampton said. “They were like, oh yeah, that guy. Gave me a little peek and I got to work, you know.”

In this case, working means eating, eating and more eating. A lot of work if you can get it.


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