Mission and History

Allegheny GoatScape’s mission is to reduce invasive and unwanted vegetation in public spaces and vacant lots, utilizing goats for browsing. Working in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Allegheny GoatScape accomplishes this mission by partnering with organizations, land owners, and businesses and allowing the goat herd to eat vegetation on the overgrown properties. Giving goats access to intentional properties removes vegetation in an eco-friendly and efficient manner, setting the stage for additional land management and restoration. Allegheny GoatScape will also promote goat husbandry, education and resources access for those interested in raising goats in the Pittsburgh Region.

Allegheny GoatScape transitioned from an organization called Steel City Grazers, becoming a 501c3 nonprofit organization in the beginning of 2017. Steel City Grazers paved the way to encourage goat herd use as a viable means to mitigate unwanted vegetation in the region.

By clearing unwanted vegetation with goats rather than using management products like herbicides, communities gain a number of benefits. Goats can traverse terrain that is difficult or impossible for people and machinery. They work long hours, and the only fuel they require is the plants they'll eat. Goats clearing an overgrown neighborhood space can create good community conversation, provide volunteer opportunities to increase community engagement, and pave the way to new opportunities in shared spaces!


Allegheny GoatScape Staff

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Gavin Deming, Founder & Executive Director

Gavin started to dream of working with goats to eat knotweed and other invasives when a good friend presented the idea of roaming Pittsburgh's North Side with a small nomadic herd eating overgrown vacant lots, more than ten years ago. When he worked on a project to bring the goats to a public space that had immediate positive effects on the landscape, he knew he had to get more involved. A few years later, he created Allegheny GoatScape as a 501c3 non-profit to be able to use these gentle animals and work with partners, mitigating invasive plants throughout Allegheny County in an eco-friendly way.

Angel Face -  Angel is named for his adorable face when he was a kid. This Nubian is still a handsome fellow, but his name name now applies to his gentle nature among the rest of the herd. Fun fact: he will not eat out of your hand, as good as the treat may be!

Angel Face - Angel is named for his adorable face when he was a kid. This Nubian is still a handsome fellow, but his name name now applies to his gentle nature among the rest of the herd. Fun fact: he will not eat out of your hand, as good as the treat may be!

Butter Bailey -  Butter is the only female on Team Hobo, but she gets along well with the others. She rejoined Allegheny GoatScape in June 2017 after spending the winter and spring away from her team. She is slightly smaller and younger than her counterparts, but can eat knotweed and honeysuckle with the best of them!

Butter Bailey - Butter is the only female on Team Hobo, but she gets along well with the others. She rejoined Allegheny GoatScape in June 2017 after spending the winter and spring away from her team. She is slightly smaller and younger than her counterparts, but can eat knotweed and honeysuckle with the best of them!

Cowboy  - By far the most rambunctious of Team Hobo; Cowboy’s breeder has called him too smart for his own good. Though large for a Nigerian dwarf, he is still more than willing to push the larger goats around to get what he wants. And those sky blue eyes are something else...

Cowboy - By far the most rambunctious of Team Hobo; Cowboy’s breeder has called him too smart for his own good. Though large for a Nigerian dwarf, he is still more than willing to push the larger goats around to get what he wants. And those sky blue eyes are something else...

Favourite -  Favourite finds satisfaction being around the other goats; he is a reliable teammate. He seems to have a good sense for empathy to his herd-mates, even with Cowboy. In winter 2017, Favourite got quite an earache, and has had a funny gait ever since, but not to worry; he is healthy and sturdy, if not a little wobbly.

Favourite - Favourite finds satisfaction being around the other goats; he is a reliable teammate. He seems to have a good sense for empathy to his herd-mates, even with Cowboy. In winter 2017, Favourite got quite an earache, and has had a funny gait ever since, but not to worry; he is healthy and sturdy, if not a little wobbly.

Kama -  Kama appears to be the most odd of all the goats, but his aloofness might actually be genius. He never appears to have to fight for food, and he has been found in places that seem impossible for any normal goat to get to. His white goat coat is highly unusual, and he is as photogenic as they come.

Kama - Kama appears to be the most odd of all the goats, but his aloofness might actually be genius. He never appears to have to fight for food, and he has been found in places that seem impossible for any normal goat to get to. His white goat coat is highly unusual, and he is as photogenic as they come.

Ozark -  Serving as Reuben’s sidekick, Ozark is always right there with Reuben when visitors arrive, mimicking whatever Reuben has to say. Ozark is a Nigerian dwarf and always seems to know when it is time for hoof-trimming time (and becomes very hard to find).

Ozark - Serving as Reuben’s sidekick, Ozark is always right there with Reuben when visitors arrive, mimicking whatever Reuben has to say. Ozark is a Nigerian dwarf and always seems to know when it is time for hoof-trimming time (and becomes very hard to find).

Reuben -  Reuben is the largest among the Nubians with Team Hobo and is a little hard of seeing, but always makes sure to stay close to Wimpy, since he’s guaranteed to have plenty of food nearby.

Reuben - Reuben is the largest among the Nubians with Team Hobo and is a little hard of seeing, but always makes sure to stay close to Wimpy, since he’s guaranteed to have plenty of food nearby.

Twinsie -  Twinsie is aptly named when standing next to his partner Angel. There is little that sets them apart, but Twinsie's collar is all red. He is usually the last one to hop into the trailer when heading to a new site.

Twinsie - Twinsie is aptly named when standing next to his partner Angel. There is little that sets them apart, but Twinsie's collar is all red. He is usually the last one to hop into the trailer when heading to a new site.

Wimpy -  As a Saanen goat, Wimpy is the largest of the GoatScape herd, and is purely motivated by food. Legend has it he was named for his extremely timid nature as a kid, but rest assured, the only thing that still remains wimpy is his name.

Wimpy - As a Saanen goat, Wimpy is the largest of the GoatScape herd, and is purely motivated by food. Legend has it he was named for his extremely timid nature as a kid, but rest assured, the only thing that still remains wimpy is his name.

Hobo (Hobes) -  As cantankerous as he can be toward his caprine counterparts, Hobo dutifully performs his task to keep the herd safe. He loves people, carrots and afternoon rolls in the dirt.

Hobo (Hobes) - As cantankerous as he can be toward his caprine counterparts, Hobo dutifully performs his task to keep the herd safe. He loves people, carrots and afternoon rolls in the dirt.

Dusty -  Dusty is a large Nubian with a red and pink collar. He can be a little pushy - he's definitely an alpha male. and very protective of his smaller twin, Star. If the window is open in the shed, he is always peering outside during winter months.

Dusty - Dusty is a large Nubian with a red and pink collar. He can be a little pushy - he's definitely an alpha male. and very protective of his smaller twin, Star. If the window is open in the shed, he is always peering outside during winter months.

Kalkaska (Kal) -  Kal is a calico Nigerian dwarf. He's a friend of Petoskey's and they both enjoy jumping into open laps when they get a chance.

Kalkaska (Kal) - Kal is a calico Nigerian dwarf. He's a friend of Petoskey's and they both enjoy jumping into open laps when they get a chance.

Oreo -  Named for his interesting coloration by some youngsters, Oreo is one friendly Nigerian dwarf. He has a large overbite but definitely eats his fair share. His is also distinguished by his bald eyes.

Oreo - Named for his interesting coloration by some youngsters, Oreo is one friendly Nigerian dwarf. He has a large overbite but definitely eats his fair share. His is also distinguished by his bald eyes.

Petoskey  - Petoskey is a friendly Nigerian dwarf. He is constantly seeking attention when human counterparts are around.

Petoskey - Petoskey is a friendly Nigerian dwarf. He is constantly seeking attention when human counterparts are around.

Star -  Star is a tan Nubian, now with a red collar. He's named for the star on his head. Star and Dusty are twins with Team Diamond.

Star - Star is a tan Nubian, now with a red collar. He's named for the star on his head. Star and Dusty are twins with Team Diamond.

Diamond  - Diamond joined Allegheny GoatScape in spring 2018 to help watch over the second herd. Though she has a gentle presence and at times can be a little skittish, she sure knows how to make a good "hee-haw"!

Diamond - Diamond joined Allegheny GoatScape in spring 2018 to help watch over the second herd. Though she has a gentle presence and at times can be a little skittish, she sure knows how to make a good "hee-haw"!

Dot  - Perhaps the most fiesty goat with Allegheny GoatScape, this Alpine is keen on stirring things up just before rest time. She is keen on working hard though, and eats with the best of them.

Dot - Perhaps the most fiesty goat with Allegheny GoatScape, this Alpine is keen on stirring things up just before rest time. She is keen on working hard though, and eats with the best of them.

Dice  - A beautiful Alpine, Dice comes to us from Goat Rodeo Dairy, as does the rest of Team Steel Valley.

Dice - A beautiful Alpine, Dice comes to us from Goat Rodeo Dairy, as does the rest of Team Steel Valley.

Floppy  - Ms. Floppy might be the friendliest Nubian you’ll ever meet, and that’s saying a lot because we have an extremely friendly bunch! She sometimes finds herself in a bit of hot water when she tries to snag some of Sunshine’s treats.

Floppy - Ms. Floppy might be the friendliest Nubian you’ll ever meet, and that’s saying a lot because we have an extremely friendly bunch! She sometimes finds herself in a bit of hot water when she tries to snag some of Sunshine’s treats.

Flash  - Flash, a handsome Alpine, is the great convener of Team Steel Valley along the Great Allegheny Passage. She brings her small herd together to eat A LOT of knotweed!

Flash - Flash, a handsome Alpine, is the great convener of Team Steel Valley along the Great Allegheny Passage. She brings her small herd together to eat A LOT of knotweed!

Luna  - Donning her signature corkscrew beard, Luna is a large Nubian and best friends with Floppy. She often uses her buddy as a pillow during rest time.

Luna - Donning her signature corkscrew beard, Luna is a large Nubian and best friends with Floppy. She often uses her buddy as a pillow during rest time.

Meg  - Meg is quite the loner, often seen eating or resting on her own along the Great Allegheny Passage. Very little distinguishes her from Flash, aside from her distinct personality.

Meg - Meg is quite the loner, often seen eating or resting on her own along the Great Allegheny Passage. Very little distinguishes her from Flash, aside from her distinct personality.

Sunshine  - The newest and youngest member of our team (born May 12, 2017), Sunshine is the head of Team Steel Valley and looks after them along the Monongahela River. She was raised at Blose Acres Farm in Indiana County to be able to serve as a companion to children on the Autism spectrum. She is a real sweet girl!

Sunshine - The newest and youngest member of our team (born May 12, 2017), Sunshine is the head of Team Steel Valley and looks after them along the Monongahela River. She was raised at Blose Acres Farm in Indiana County to be able to serve as a companion to children on the Autism spectrum. She is a real sweet girl!

 

📷 Most headshots of the herd by Tom MacConnell. Thanks Tom!

Allegheny GoatScape Board of Directors:  

  • Patricia A. Bucek | National Director of Marketing & Talent Attraction, Vibrant Pittsburgh

  • Jennifer Layman | Regional Vice President, Partnerships, Student Conservation Association

  • Kendall Pelling, Board Treasurer | Director of Land Recycling, East Liberty Development, Inc.

  • Carrie Richards, Board President | Programs Team Leader, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management

  • Doug Van Haitsma | Vice President, Real Estate Development, PW Campbell

  • Leslie Woods, Board Secretary | Title Specialist, EQT Production

  • Ephraim Zimmerman | Natural Heritage Science Director, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy