Main Street Volunteers at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center

In November 2020, Main Street volunteered at the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. The Arboretum is a 155-acre non-profit, nature sanctuary encompassing woodland, meadow, savanna, and wetland habitats. It plays a vital role in protecting native plants and animals in the heart of the city where development threatens their survival.  The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center, one of the first nature education facilities for children in the state of Texas, provides services to over 400,000 visitors annually, and provides nature education for more than 10,000 children annually.

This event was organized specifically to benefit a new Houston Arboretum initiative Savanna and Prairie Maintenance – Goat Grazing.  After savanna and prairie have been established, these ecosystems require periodic maintenance to ensure that they are not threatened by non-native encroachment. Historically, these ecosystems have been managed by fire. Because the Arboretum cannot burn due to our urban location, we elected to sponsor another historic method of savanna management: grazing.  

Main Street underwrote this project with Rent-A-Ruminant who brought around 130 goats to assist with the landscape maintenance. The goats offer an effective, eco-friendly way to manage areas that humans and machines cannot easily maintain. The Arboretum’s first goat-grazing event occurred in October 2020, and the goats will return periodically to help maintain more than 10 acres of important savanna and prairie ecosystems. In addition to the sponsorship, Main Street also had 13 employees who participated in the Main Street Volunteer Time Off (VTO) Program and donated their time planting prairie grass and collecting trash. The Main Street employees were able to collect several buckets of trash from around the arboretum and replaced over 72 plots of native grass in the areas the goats had already cleared.

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