Sheep are roaming parks this spring

The herbivorous animals are used to ecologically maintain green spaces and fertilize the soil

Sheep are roaming parks this spring

Photo credit: Getty Images

Two parks in Rivière-des-Prairies are stowing their lawnmowers for four weeks this spring in favour of an environmentally-friendly substitute.

From May 17 to June 13, 2021, a herd of 10 to 15 sheep will be hard at work keeping the grass in tip-top shape at St. Joseph Park. The initiative is part of the Les Prairies de Biquette eco-pasture pilot project, mandated by the borough of Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles.

The wooly grazers will be deployed by the Biquette Écopâturage,  a non-profit organization whose main mission is to maintain green spaces in an ecological way using sheep, to educate the population on green grazing and the challenges of urban agriculture, as well as to offer fun activities on the subject. The sheep will be watched over by a shepherd and volunteers every day, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. At night, the flock will re-energize and snooze at a temporary shelter installed across the road in Cheval-Blanc Park.

An environmentally-friendly project

The objectives of the pilot project are to promote eco-grazing or “green grazing” — maintenance of green spaces and parks in an ecological and natural way with herbivorous animals. The technique reduces noise produced by machinery, does not need fuel, and is a great way to naturally fertilize the soil. The project is also a chance to educate citizens about the environment and urban agriculture and will encompass fun activities and virtual workshops.

Students will be involved

The borough will also collaborate with the neighbouring Simone-Desjardins school, so that students can benefit from the project and learn more about the animals and their work.

In a Montreal press release, RDP-PAT Mayor Caroline Bourgeois says that she fell in love with the idea of eco-grazing after seeing a similar project in Rosemont, and that she is particularly proud that her borough’s project will involve the the community’s children and youth.

Participate in the project

The Biquette Écopâturage organization is looking for motivated, responsible, and available people to complete its team of volunteers. Accompanied by the shepherd, the volunteers take care of the sheep and answer questions from visitors to the park, rain or shine. To be a volunteer, you must:

  • Be 16 years old and over
  • Love animals
  • Be available from mid-May to mid-June for a minimum of three hours per week
  • Have good interpersonal skills
  • Love teamwork

Send your application ASAP to benevolatbiquette@gmail.com

St. Joseph and Cheval-Blanc parks are located on Gouin Boulevard, between 66th and 69th Avenues in Rivière-des-Prairies.

For more information on the project, see montreal.c/rdppat