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
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.
📷 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