By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Brown, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
INDIAN ISLAND, Wash. – In recognition of Earth Day 2013, Naval Magazine Indian Island (NMII) utilized a herd of goats as an eco-friendly method of invasive vegetation control at NMII, April 15 through mid-June.
More than 100 goats from more than nine different breeds are being employed to remove noxious weeds and shrubs without using heavy machinery or chemicals at NMII.
“My goats eat the brush and unwanted vegetation in a very natural way,” said Tammy Dunakin, chief goat wrangler for Rent-A-Ruminant, LLC.
By eating the weeds and shrubs the goats ecologically diminish the seed source and reduce plant growth in the areas.
“I have been really impressed with the Navy’s green initative. They are doing a lot of stuff to keep these places really beautiful,” said Dunakin. “It’s really a win-win for both parties using these goats. People don’t think about the safety aspect, but these goats will go where it is dangerous for people, where they might slip and hurt themselves.”
When asked about the Navy’s use of goats, Cmdr. Michael Yesunas, NMII commanding officer, said it was cost-effective, safe, and environmentally friendly.
“This benefits the Navy by clearing the invasive species,” said Yesunas. “It’s great because we are not using machines to clear this.
“It really shows the Navy’s dedication to the environment,” said Yesunas. “You go out of your way to make something like this come together. It’s a testament to the Navy’s dedication to being eco-friendly.”
The Department of the Navy Earth Day theme for 2013 is “Global Reach – Local Action.” The theme is meant to encourage Sailors to take local action to show the Navy’s dedication to protecting the environment.
Through April and May, Navy installations and tenant commands within Navy Region Northwest will be participating in Earth Day related events like cleanup projects, a fish planting and recycling competitions.
Navy and Marine Corps commands officially celebrate Earth Day April 22. Earth Day officially started on April 22, 1970 as a day to reflect on the planet’s environment and ways to help keep it healthy.