Sometimes being green involves going “baaack” to low-tech.
The 23-time winner of the world’s “Most Beautiful Park” award by the National Amusement Park Historical Association has added some unusual members to the park’s landscaping team: 17 Scottish blackface sheep. The sheep, which typically reside at Highland Stables in the Scotland village at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, were trained to test an innovative, environmentally friendly program of “targeted grazing.”
The initiative is a first for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
The pilot began earlier this summer and has been so successful the park is now expanding it and adding other animals including a “clean-up crew” of chickens and turkeys.
Targeted grazing involves training animals to naturally manage landscaping by eating grass and plants from certain areas. The innovative practice has had both environmental and operational benefits for Busch Gardens Williamsburg including:
- Reducing the need for powered lawn equipment, reducing the park’s carbon footprint
- Saving nearly 100 gallons of fuel a year
- Saving nearly 288 labor hours a year, time that can be reallocated to other landscaping initiatives (that require hands) such as flower pruning, edging and planting
- Producing manure for the turf
In addition to providing a green method for landscaping, the animals are also a natural fit for the terrain: sheep are skilled and sure-footed on steep slopes that can sometime present challenges to human landscapers.
Guests can see the flock grazing along the sloping banks of the Rhine River below the tracks of Busch Gardens’ newest roller coaster, Verbolten.