Last summer, New Yorkers went gaga over the herd of sheep that took up residence on Governors Island. We can officially reveal that the animals are back and better than ever this year.
Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries will move away from their usual home in Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany to spend the warmer months on Governors Island, snacking on invasive species as part of an innovative and eco-friendly landscaping program. The sheep, who have clearly become the island's most famous employees, will help make sure that the area's biodiversity will continue to thrive.
"We are thrilled to welcome our four-legged landscapers back to Governors Island. They may be cute and fuzzy, but these hardworking sheep also provide an incredible service to the Island by supporting our horticulture team in clearing invasive species that otherwise would harm our growing urban forest in Hammock Grove," said Clare Newman, president and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island, in an official statement. "Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries will help provide a groomed and beautifully maintained green space this summer for all of our visitors to enjoy."
Flora-prone minds might be wondering what plants, exactly, the cute creatures tend to crave. According to an official press release, the sheep particularly love herbaceous vegetation—think grass, phragmites and flowering plants like mugwort and sunflowers. These plants happen to be competitive ones, crowding other species within the park and essentially creating a monoculture. By eating them, the sheep will help weaken them and prevent them from spreading too much.
According to officials, "hiring" the sheep actually reduces the time spent on invasive species removal to less than 30% of the gardening staff time. That's a lot.
Interestingly enough, goats and other similar animals wouldn't be as ideal recruits as the sheep are. That's because the latter creatures don't eat tree bark and goats would likely devour any plant they'd find on the island, not just the invasive species.
Although Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries will be on site throughout the upcoming few months, we suggest you schedule a visit to the Island during one of the several public sheep herding demonstrations that will be announced in the coming weeks. Check the schedule for those right here.
Once again, Governors Island has proved to be the destination par excellence this summer. In addition to its exciting new inhabitants, New Yorkers can look forward to visiting the new beach club that opened in the area, the return of luxury glamping and the debut of two outdoor heated infinity pools that just launched within luxury spa QC NY.