Each spring, a lively group of several hundred workers collaborate to help maintain the Mills Campus as a safe and beautiful place to reside. Scouring hillsides and overgrown areas, they clear vegetation and fertilize the soil. Who are these diligent workers? A herd of goats.
For the past several years the Mills College administration has contracted with a Bay Area company, Goats R Us, to bring a flock to the campus for several weeks annually. The goats are then turned loose on sites that have been pre-selected by the campus Grounds Manager, Dwayne DeFount. Though guidance is sometimes required for the animals, encouragement is not. As comically eager eaters, the goats will devour anything in their path. Therefore, some trees must to wrapped in plastic in order to avoid any inadvertent ingestion by the zealous grazers.
Bemusing as it may sound, the goats serve a vital purpose. Paul Richards, Associate Director of Campus Facilities described it as “basically a fire control measure.”
In spite of their usefulness, goats may just be appreciated solely for their novelty. Public Safety officer Dennis Bernardo notes that many local families bring their children to observe the goats at Mills. Because they come to campus in the spring, the herd is often accompanied by newborn kids who delight young and old onlookers alike.