Ithaca Adopts A More Natural Approach To Cemetery Maintenance

Keeping with the theme of trying new and creative approaches to cut costs while simultaneously increasing interest in your cemetery, today’s post looks at how the City of Ithaca recently adopted a surprising new plan for mowing the lawns in the city cemetery.  In partnership with a local start-up, the environmentally-friendly Ewe Care Rent-a-Flock, the City will be having a group of six Olde English Southdown babydoll sheep take responsibility for mowing the lawns in the cemetery.

Surprising as it is, this group of six sheep is actually more efficient at maintaining the laws than the usual four-man team, being both faster and cheaper. This reflects a variety of factors, such as that the sheep are better equipped to handle hilly terrain. Another advantage is that the sheep can eat around stones and other monument features that may impede the use of a lawn mower or other machinery without causing damage, a notable benefit for older cemeteries. This frees up human workers for other, more important tasks.

Finally, using the sheep has the potential to provide a significant boost to public relations, in ways that can appeal to multiple groups.  For one, the sheep provide a natural and environmentally friendly way to maintain the lawns, a boon at a time when people are increasingly conscious of the environment.  In addition, the sheep are entertaining to watch, serving as both an attraction for visitors and adding to the aesthetic of the cemetery while they work.  Given that the sheep are also cheaper and more efficient, it seems like the City of Ithaca has stumbled upon quite the idea.

As with our last post, this approach probably would not be viable for most cemeteries, but the point is to again highlight the importance of looking for new and creative ways to cut costs and improve your cemetery’s appeal. 

For more on Ithaca’s plan, and a video of the sheep hard at work, read more here.

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