The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 4, 2005


Unfunded sheep depart Carlisle

The flock of sheep that has delighted Carlisle residents and passersby for the last four years will not be grazing on Towle Field this spring, according to Art Milliken of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF), which has sponsored the grazing project.

In a letter addressed to Roy Watson, chair of the Carlisle Conservation Commission, Milliken stated the foundation budget will not be able to cover the annual $20,000 required for the project. In the past, townspeople have contributed funds and some money was obtained from the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program. According to Milliken, outside sources have furnished about half of the $80,000 total spent on the sheep project.

Milliken's February 17, 2005 letter states: "CCF considers the grazing program to be a success both in terms of the benefits to the fields and in terms of what has been learned. Towle Field is looking substantially better and is much healthier. Buckthorn and other invaders have given way to pasture. As the sheep consumed and broke up the thatch, native grasses were allowed more space to grow. The growth along stone walls and boundaries, which cannot be reached by mechanical means, was trimmed to the ground.

"It is probably too optimistic to hope that the buckthorn would be completely eradicated. Over time perhaps this invasive and others could be killed by continual grazing and mowing, but experts seem to agree that at this point multiple mowings and removal of plants by digging and/or careful herbicide application is both most economical and more effective."

That's it for the sheep. If anyone knows a Daddy Warbucks, or a group of people with pockets that are $20,000- a-year deep, tell them about Carlisle's departing sheep. CCF's Art Milliken and Marjie Findlay would be happy to hear from them. Call them before the grass turns green.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito