Meet five of the most popular landscapers on Governors Island.

Five sheep will spend their summer at the former military base-turned-park with one mission: hanging out in the young urban forest in the Hammock Grove section of the island, munching on unwanted invasive plants. It’s their second summer on the island.

“Bringing the sheep on board last year was really innovation from our horticulture team thinking about how can we much more efficiently and much more environmentally friendly manage these invasive species,” said Clare Newman, president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island.

What You Need To Know

  • Five sheep have returned to Governors Island for the summer

  • The sheep are part of the effort to control invasive plant species in the island's Hammock Grove urban forest area

  • They are from a farm in Albany

  • The sheep are named Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad and Philip Aries

Invasive species can take over an area like Hammock Grove, leaving little space for any type of biodiversity.

“The more species of plant you have, the more flowers you have at different times of the year, and the more nice butterflies and birds we get coming in and utilizing them,” said Leo Frampton, a seasonal gardener on the island.

Senior gardener Malcolm Gore says his team is glad to have the sheep back. The animals hail from Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany. Gore says he thinks the sheep are glad to be back here too, for what is really an all you can eat buffet of plants.

“When they arrived, they immediately recognized the place, immediately started eating”, said Gore, who noted that when they arrived last year, it took a few days before they would eat the island’s plants.

It all leaves more time for Gore and his team to focus on trees and planting around the island, as opposed to constantly removing invasive plants. The arrival of the sheep is a reunion for all those involved.

“It felt like they recognized me, recognized my voice, they came right over this morning,” said Gore.

“Yeah they knew me,” said Frampton. “They were like, oh yeah, that guy. Gave me a little look and got to work you know."

In this case, work means eating, eating, and more eating. Not bad work if you can get it.