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,  officially forming as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in January of 2017. Steel City Grazers paved the way to encourage goat herd use as a viable means to mitigate unwanted vegetation.

By clearing unwanted vegetation with goats rather than using invasive 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 cleaning up an overgrown neighborhood space can create good community conversation, and provide volunteer opportunities to increase community engagement.


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. Fast forward a few years and he is looking forward to the Allegheny GoatScape herd keeping up this good work, mitigating invasive plants throughout Allegheny County in an eco-friendly way. Gavin has his MSW from University of Pennsylvania and is the community specialist for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s Community Gardens and Greenspace Program.

  Reuben -  Reuben is the self-proclaimed leader of the herd. He is the first to greet visitors, and by far the most vocal. He is the largest among the Nubians in the herd.

Reuben - Reuben is the self-proclaimed leader of the herd. He is the first to greet visitors, and by far the most vocal. He is the largest among the Nubians in the herd.

  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 the the smallest in the herd.

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 the the smallest in the herd.

  Angel Face -  Angel Face 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.

Angel Face - Angel Face 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.

  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, while Angel's is white.

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, while Angel's is white.

  Kama -  Kama appears to be the most aloof of the herd, 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 aloof of the herd, 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. 

  Cowboy  - By far the most rambunctious of the herd; 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 the herd; 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...

  Wimpy -  As a Kaanan 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 Kaanan 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.

  Favourite -  Favourite finds satisfaction being around the other goats; he is a reliable teammate. If one of his fellow herd members gets some attention, Favourite will check in to make sure all is well. He seems to have a good sense for empathy to his herd-mates, even with Cowboy.

Favourite - Favourite finds satisfaction being around the other goats; he is a reliable teammate. If one of his fellow herd members gets some attention, Favourite will check in to make sure all is well. He seems to have a good sense for empathy to his herd-mates, even with Cowboy.

  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 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 and afternoon rolls in the dirt.

  Butter Bailey -  Butter is one of two females of the herd but gets along just fine with the others. She rejoined Allegheny GoatScape in July having spent 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 one of two females of the herd but gets along just fine with the others. She rejoined Allegheny GoatScape in July having spent 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!

  Pep -  Pep is currently smallest tan Nubian, and holds his own despite being pushed around, especially by the Nigerian dwarf goats. He likes to stick with his buddy, Butter.    

Pep - Pep is currently smallest tan Nubian, and holds his own despite being pushed around, especially by the Nigerian dwarf goats. He likes to stick with his buddy, Butter. 

 

  Petoskey  - Petoskey is a friendly Nigerian dwarf. Always jumping up on things, he likes to make sure the other goats don't ignore him for his size.    

Petoskey - Petoskey is a friendly Nigerian dwarf. Always jumping up on things, he likes to make sure the other goats don't ignore him for his size. 

 

  Kalkaska (Kal) -  Kal is a calico Nigerian dwarf. He's a friend of Petoskey's and together they have a habit of jumping up on people. 

Kalkaska (Kal) - Kal is a calico Nigerian dwarf. He's a friend of Petoskey's and together they have a habit of jumping up on people. 

  Dusty -  Dusty is a large Nubian with a red and pink collar. He can be a little pushy - he's definitely an alpha male. If the window is open in the shed, he is always peering outside. 

Dusty - Dusty is a large Nubian with a red and pink collar. He can be a little pushy - he's definitely an alpha male. If the window is open in the shed, he is always peering outside. 

  Star -  Star is a tan Nubian with a green collar. He's named for the star on his head. Star and Dusty are twins. 

Star - Star is a tan Nubian with a green collar. He's named for the star on his head. Star and Dusty are twins. 

  Oreo -  Named for his interesting coloration, Oreo is a Nigerian dwarf. He's friendly and has an overbite but seems to be faring just fine. 

Oreo - Named for his interesting coloration, Oreo is a Nigerian dwarf. He's friendly and has an overbite but seems to be faring just fine. 

 

📷 Headshots of the herd by Tom MacConnell. Thanks Tom!


Allegheny GoatScape Board of Directors:  

  • Kendall Pelling, Board Treasurer | Director of Land Recycling, East Liberty Development, Inc.
  • Carrie Richards, Board President | Programs Team Leader, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
  • Janée Romesburg | Volunteer Program Manager, Washington Trails Association
  • Leslie Woods | Title Specialist, EQT Production
  • Lydia Yoder, Board Secretary | Volunteer Coordinator, Bike Pittsburgh 
  • Ephraim Zimmerman | Natural Heritage Science Director, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy