Maryville Hosts First-Ever ‘Virtual’ Goat Day

Maryville University will host its annual Goat Day on Friday, April 24, 2020 beginning at 8 a.m. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event is being held virtually for the first time ever.

The event is traditionally held on campus each spring during Earth Week to bring awareness to invasive honeysuckle on campus and engage the community in ecological management. A highlight of the event is a herd of goats who come to the Maryville University campus to graze on the honeysuckle outside several academic buildings.

This year, students in Maryville University’s Sustainability Exploration class created a robust website with interactive opportunities including coloring pages, a video game, word puzzles and a goat simulator. The Maryville students have collaborated with teachers at 20 St. Louis area public schools to provide access to the virtual Goat Day for children to explore and learn.

“I think it’s great when we have an active learning classroom — that is not actually a classroom — and engages students in multiple ways,” said Kyra Krakos, associate professor of biology. “Through virtual Goat Day, students learned about sustainability, biology, botany, education and marketing. They pulled together different types of learning to become experts in that area, and they also learned how to present that science to the broader community.”

Maryville’s Goat Day began in 2012 when sustainability students initiated research on the environmental management for invasive honeysuckle. They investigated the effectiveness of a variety of management methods including girdling, cutting, spraying, pulling and grazing. They found that grazing by goats was the most effective management tool. The goats can reach places difficult for people and machines, and they also diminish the need for herbicides and reduce biowaste.

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Thank you to KMOV for your coverage of this good news!

To learn more about Maryville’s first-ever virtual Goat Day, please watch our Facebook Live interview with Krakos.

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