CDCs Get Creative With Green Innovations

In Hyde Park, goats are feasting on poison ivy and other invasive plants. In Dorchester, three bus shelters are getting new “green living roofs” that will help improve air quality and reduce stormwater run-off. Both projects, led by local CDCs, are examples of green innovation by Community Development Corporations.

The West Street urban wild in Hyde Park had long been overrun with poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant species. The Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation’s Green Team wanted to find an efficient way to clear the area for green space without relying on chemicals or machinery. Enter the goats.

The four goats – Cole, Chester, Dalia and Christopher, on loan from a “goatscaping” company in Plympton – will clear away the unwanted plants from two acres of land. As it turns out, the poison ivy that’s so bothersome to people is a delicacy to goats. The goats will live and eat in Hyde Park’s urban wild for about eight weeks, after which Green Team members will start pruning trees and building footpaths, restoring access to the space for neighborhood residents.

Meanwhile, in Dorchester, the Fairmount-Indigo Line CDC Collaborative and the Talbot Norfolk Triangle Eco Innovation District have teamed up with a sustainable landscaping company to install living roofs on three bus shelters near the Talbot Station of the Fairmount / Indigo Commuter Rail Line. These living roofs contain a few inches of soil and local drought-tolerant plants along with a special filter map that can retain up to 24 gallons of water during a major rainstorm. The mat will absorb water to keep it out of the road, while the plants will help keep the air clear along Talbot Avenue. Each of the bus shelters will also display a poster from the EPA highlighting the benefits of the living roofs.

While the project offers green benefits and helps promote public transportation, these living roofs will also create job opportunities. In partnership with YouthBuild Boston and the TNT Green Teens Program, the landscaping company will train local youth to do the construction and maintenance of the living roofs.