This national landmark hired 30 new workers: hungry goats.

The Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., recently employed an innovative lawn and landscape solution: a herd of goats.

Yep. A herd of goats.


"When's lunch? And by lunch, I mean the entirety of my workday." Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

For the second time in two years, this team of goats is reporting for duty.

30 hardworking hires from Browsing Green Goats are grazing on the poison ivy, fallen debris, and overgrown vines invading the national historic landmark. And don't worry, thanks to evolutionary advancements and four-chambered stomachs, goats can process plants that would be toxic to other animals.

"We goats-ta get our work done," said this little fella, who's not afraid of a good pun. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

This job is about much more than aesthetics; it's about preservation.

The vines in the cemetery can grow so large that they actually strangle trees. Those trees can then fall and damage the site's historic headstones. The 200-year-old cemetery is the final resting place for icons like composer John Philip Sousa and D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.

Photo by Congressional Cemetery, used with permission.

The goats are an economical, green solution to managing the overgrown property.

The 200-year-old Congressional Cemetery sits along the Anacostia River, so the staff wanted to choose an environmentally friendly solution to keep pesticides and other poisons out of the water.

Goats are the perfect groundskeepers, as they clear invasive plants and leave their own brand of fertilizer. They also create zero hydrocarbons and less noise pollution than their gas-guzzling mechanical counterparts.

Eating tin cans? Ain't nobody goat time for that. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Paul K. Williams, cemetery president and owner of the spookiest job title in America, told the media:

"We were amazed two years ago at the sensation these little guys caused, but when we saw the excellent job they had done, it made complete sense to bring them back again."

But goat grazing isn't just for historic sites. Herds of goats are being utilized across the country.

Goats are already providing services to the Google campus, large universities, and utility companies. The hungry animals are also finding work (and meals) at major airports.

Goats hard at work at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. They're joined by two donkeys and a ram, who came with impeccable references. Photo by Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images.

Have some yard work to do? Hire a goat!

Goats are a natural, affordable solution to traditional weed removal, and goat grazing businesses are popping up across the country. If you live in the Seattle metro area, you can even rent a goat on Amazon.

"We're on Amazon? You've goat-a be kidding me!" Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

So the next time you have some yard work to do, put down the weed-whacker and consider calling a furry, bearded, hungry friend out to your neighborhood. Especially if that furry, bearded, hungry friend is a goat.

See the Browsing Green Goats in action at Congressional Cemetery in this short video from CBS News:

Heroes

Comedy legend Carol Burnett once said, "Giving birth is like taking your lower lip and forcing it over your head." She wasn't joking.

Going through childbirth is widely acknowledged as one of the most grueling things a human can endure. Having birthed three babies myself, I can attest that Burnett's description is fairly accurate—if that seemingly impossible lip-stretching feat lasted for hours and involved a much more sensitive part of your body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via SNL / YouTube

Christopher Walken is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He's been nominated for an Academy Award twice for best supporting actor, winning once for 1978's "The Deer Hunter" and receiving a nomination for 2002's "Catch Me if You Can."

He's played memorable roles in "Annie Hall," "Pulp Fiction," "Wedding Crashers," "Batman Returns," and countless other films. He's also starred in Shakespeare on the stage and began his career as a dancer.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

popular

Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

Keep Reading Show less
popular