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Governors Island Sheep Return to Delight Families and Do Some Landscaping

Governors Island Sheep Return to Delight Families and Do Some Landscaping

The fluffy flock will help control the island's invasive plant species—and look cute while doing it!


Hey New York...Get ready to flock to Governors Island for some fluffy fun! The Trust for Governors Island just announced the return of their summer sheep employees. You read that correctly—sheep will be working again at Governors Island!

Now, these fluffy friends won't be giving tours or anything like that, but their job is equally important. For the second straight year, the adorable sheep will spend the summer at Governors Island, helping to control invasive plant species in Hammock Grove’s young urban forest and ensuring the area’s biodiversity can thrive for years to come. How will they do this? By snacking on the plants, of course!

The fluffy flock — named Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries—hail from Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany. They did such a great job last year, that Trust for Governors Island executives just had to bring them baaaaaack. 

“We are thrilled to welcome our four-legged landscapers back to Governors Island. They may be cute and fuzzy, but these hardworking sheep also provide an incredible service to the island by supporting our horticulture team in clearing invasive species that otherwise would harm our growing urban forest in Hammock Grove,” Clare Newman, president and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island, said. “Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries will help provide a groomed and beautifully maintained green space this summer for all of our visitors to enjoy.”

If you're wondering if you can see the sheep in action—you can! While visitors aren't permitted to pet or feed the wooly workers, you can get close enough to get some great shots of them in action. 

Landscaping Governors Island is truly a labor of love for these animals. The sheep’s love for herbaceous plants, such as grasses, phragmites and flowering plants like mugwort and sunflowers, make them a natural fit to join Governors Island’s horticulture team. Replete with such delicacies (phragmites being their favorite), the flock reside on the island and will stay there all summer, enjoying a lush grove and eating invasive plants. 

Prior to the arrival of the sheep last year, the island's horticulture team spent a tremendous amount of time weeding, and the sheep represent a cost effective and eco-friendly solution that allows the team to focus on more productive tasks. During their first year on the island, they cleared more than eight acres of invasive plants—talk about excellent problem solvers! 



After watching the sheep do their work, check out some of the other exciting activities Governors Island is doing all summer. Stop by the island's Open Orchard, an exhibit that involves art, science and history to save near-extinct fruit species. The island also launched a free outdoor film series featuring two exciting films for families to enjoy. 

What You Need to Know About Seeing the Sheep at Governors Island 

Where is Governors Island located? 

Governors Island is considered part of Manhattan and located in New York Harbor. 

How do I get to Governors Island?

Get to the island by taking the ferry from Manhattan at 10 South St. Boats run daily. A round trip ferry ticket is $4 for adults and free for seniors and children younger than 12. Check out the ferry schedule at govisland.com/ferry.

When can I see the sheep in action?

They're always working, so you can see the sheep when Governors Island is open to the public:  Sunday-Thursday from 7am to 6pm. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Island is open to the public until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, visit govisland.com or follow Governors Island on Facebook or Instagram

Main image: Timothy Schenck/The Trust of Governors Island

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Barbara Russo

Author: Barbara Russo is a freelance writer who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from the City University of New York. She enjoys playing guitar, following current events, and hanging out with her pet rabbits. See More

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