As education officials across the country are forced to tighten their belts in these tough economic times, one school district in Pennsyvlania has found a clever way of trimming their budget -- by hiring sheep to trim their lawns. The Carlisle Area School District estimates that it will save some $15,000 a year on landscape maintenance costs and cut their carbon footprint simply by enlisting the appetite of a group of sheep to do the job for them.According to a report from The Patriot-News, cutting the grass around Wilson Middle School's field of solar panels used to take workers 6 hours a week -- and throughout the year, the cost of lawn maintenance really added up. But now, thanks to the appetite of a herd of 30 or so sheep, they've cut that figure down to virtually nothing.
An added bonus to the cost cutting measure is the fact that the sheep aren't rented; they actually belong to the school's assistant principle, Eric Sands. The only real expense for the having a herd of natural lawn-trimmers was building a fence around the field to keep them in, and providing the animals water to help them wash down all that grass.
"Right now, we're testing how many sheep the solar area can maintain. ... It looks like the grass is still growing, so I'm going to have to bring in more," says Sands.
Enlisting the help of grazing animals, like sheep and goats, to serve as groundskeepers is a growing trend teeming with green benefits. Moreover, for and education system that's often the hardest hit in tough economic times, finding novel ways of saving money can inspire practical changes that help to save the planet, too.
What an inspiration it is for a haven of learning to not just teach children about math, science, and history, but to show us all a glimpse of a smarter, greener future.
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