Rich­mond con­ser­va­tion­ists employ goats to clear his­toric black ceme­tery

A cen­turies-old ceme­tery for enslaved black peo­ple was uncov­ered after a Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, woman employed neigh­bors and four-legged friends to help clear a grove of birch trees.
For­est View Ceme­tery, a 100-plot his­toric black ceme­tery that dates to the 19th cen­tu­ry, was cov­ered in poi­son ivy and rem­nants of the past, includ­ing old car parts, scrap boards, and mat­tress­es. With the help of RVA Goats and Hon­ey, the ceme­tery was cleared in a mat­ter of days, leav­ing head­stones vis­i­ble and birch trees unen­cum­bered by dead­ly plants.
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Melis­sa Link­ous, a new For­est View res­i­dent, told the Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch that she start­ed clear­ing the ceme­tery on her own, but even­tu­al­ly, she real­ized she would need more help to pre­serve the ceme­tery.
“I think what kept the ceme­tery pro­tect­ed, even though it was defunct for so many decades, was the fact that it was cov­ered in poi­son ivy. So it kept peo­ple out,” Link­ous said. “But it also kept vol­un­teers out. So the cycle goes: The goats come in, they love poi­son ivy, they eat it all, and then the human vol­un­teers come in and work.”
Kristi Orcutt, who owns R …