Edmonton's new goat co-ordinator 'humbled and excited' to get gig

Two things helped Joy Lakhan land her new job as the City of Edmonton’s goat boss: an environmental science education and experience in the field.

The goats will be out nibbling noxious weeds again this summer

The City of Edmonton has hired a full-time goat co-ordinator for its GoatWorks pilot project. The goats help control weeds in Rundle Park. (Geordin Zee/CBC)

Two things helped Joy Lakhan land her new job as the City of Edmonton's goat boss: an environmental science education and experience in the field.

A job posting for the unusual position, seeking someone who would "engage Edmontonians in all that is goats," for up to $43 an hour, caught international attention earlier this year.

Lakhan said a friend from Nicaragua asked her about it.

"I think the posting was pretty popular and pretty heavily publicized," she told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Thursday.

"I'm both humbled and excited to work in this position."

Lakhan began the job in April, but she's no stranger to the flock of more than 200 goats that will feed on noxious weeds in Rundle Park.

How she got the gig

Lakhan has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Alberta, where she studied conservation biology.

She has also worked for the city's naturalization team for four seasons. She has planned community events and worked with the tree-planting initiative called Root for Trees.

The clincher? She co-ordinated the GoatWorks pilot program last summer. She still had to apply online, along with 240 other applicants, for the temporary full-time position.

All the time she spent researching goat memes last year probably didn't hurt either.

Job duties for a goat boss

Spokesperson Catherine Kuehne said the city was looking for someone with project management experience, not just a passion for goats.

That's because rather than herd the goats, which is someone else's responsibility, the job responsibilities include managing contracts, working with a research team from Olds College, making a safety plan and organizing "Meet and Bleat" events during the summer months. Those educational events were popular with the public last year, drawing nearly 2,000 people to Rundle Park.

Though it's not the main focus of her job, Lakhan will get to mingle with the goats.

"After spending some time with the goats, I can tell you that they're really fun creatures and they seem to have their own personalities," she said.

The goats will be back once the weeds are, in mid-to-late June.