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400 goats visit Golden Gate Seminary

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Four hundred goats descended on the verdant hillsides of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in July, cutting the grass as well as the seminary’s costs for landscaping staff.

“We save approximately $5,000 in labor and materials by contracting with Goats-R-Us,” said Robert Dvorak, the seminary’s facilities management director.

Additional potential costs if Golden Gate staff did this work are possible injuries from attempting to use mowers and weed whackers on the steep terrain or potential poison oak infections, both of which could incur medical treatment and loss of work time.

The goats, which were stationed for three weeks on the steeper areas of the 120-acre campus in Mill Valley, Calif., have been annual visitors at the Bay Area seminary for the past five years. They were managed by a Chilean goat herder and two border collies as well as a portable electric fence. The three different kinds of goats -– alpine, angora and pigmy -– were supplied with water, a salt lick and all the delectable natural grasses and poison oak they could eat on about 50 acres of the campus.

Golden Gate also is swapping several of its gasoline-powered carts for four electric vehicles. “We hope to dispose of at least three of our gasoline vehicles,” Dvorak said. “For one particularly old truck, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is paying us $650 to retire it.”

Other “green” methods that Golden Gate employs is the use of “Orange Spray,” an environmentally friendly alternative for a chemical termite spray; a recycling program that includes florescent bulbs, batteries, used oil and old paint; and upgrades to some of its boiler rooms to more efficient gas burners and more efficient pumps.

“We appreciate the opportunities for the seminary to be responsible environmental stewards of this beautiful spot in Marin County,” Golden Gate Seminary President Jeff Iorg said.

Golden Gate Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five fully accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.
Phyllis Evans is director of communications at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

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