An Ode to the Bard Goats

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While crossing the lawn next to Blithewood Manor, it’s possible you have seen goats grazing behind an electric fence. Your eyes do not deceive you; during the growing season, roughly between June and October, a herd of goats is brought to the edge of the lawn to graze so the view of the Hudson River and the Catskill mountains that Blithewood enjoys won’t be blocked by invasive foliage.

These eco-friendly landscapers were brought to Bard thanks to a grant awarded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The goats provide a sustainable solution to the problem of invasive species encroachment, preserve the picturesque Blithewood view, and add quite a bit of character to the landscape. The goats have recently completed their first official season at Bard, and will be back for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, after which the plan is to plant local flowers to replace the invasive plants.

For the winter, Blithewood is sadly devoid of goats. The poem below doubtlessly reflects the sentiment of the student body in its sorrow to see them go.


When the leaves of the valley are turning to gold

And the breeze off the river is sharpened by cold

The glory of autumn again has arrived

But one glory still greater, we shall be deprived

For the goats of Bard College who graze Blithewood Lawn

And keep open the view of the mountains beyond

Have turned their proud tails and pricked their tall ears

They must leave for the winter, in spite of our tears

They enter the trailer, tempted by bread

And disguise their emotion by butting their heads

Off to pass their vacation in a warm barn abode

Farewell, darling goats! Thanks for all that you’ve mowed.

Ella McGrail

Class of 2021

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