December 14, 2018

Six pupils taken to A&E in poison plant scare

Six pupils taken to A&E in poison plant scare

Gazette: Six pupils taken to A&E in poison plant scare

Six pupils taken to A&E in poison plant scare

Six children were taken to A&E after playing with a potentially poisonous plant on their school field.

The pupils at Parsons Heath Primary School in Templewood Road were taken to Colchester General Hospital on Thursday afternoon.

One of the pupils had managed to pull down a branch of ivy that had grown above the school boundary fence and the incident was reported to a teacher.

The Royal Horticultural Society includes Ivy on the UK’s hazardous plant list and describes it as “somewhat poisonous and a skin irritant.”

It says children are most at risk of ingesting the plant and that the sap or allergens can cause a reaction.

It advises anyone who has eaten part of a plant to seek medical advice at A&E.

Headteacher Sheena Clover said: “Basically we put children’s safety first.”

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Six pupils taken to A&E in poison plant scare

NEW BUSINESS: The Goatscaping Company

A poison ivy bed. Sumac that makes your skin bristle just thinking about it. Throw in a few rocks, some uneven terrain and a hillock, and you can just forget about that lawnmower.

Clearing this piece of land is going to take heavier artillery.

Or maybe “hoovier” artillery.

This is a job for super goats.

Elaine Philbrick and Jim Cormier don’t have to boldly go where no one has gone before; they let their goats do that.

Their herds of goats gobble up poison ivy, oak and sumac without a single blister, chow down on thorns and heavy vegetation in thickets covering rocks and rocky ledges that defy mowers. Hilly terrain and rocks are, in fact, the goats’ joy in life.

They love to climb – anything.

And they love to eat, just about anything.

Located in Plymouth and Duxbury, this goat company is drawing rave reviews and more and more customers who have discovered an alternative for taming an unwieldy parcel.

The Goatscaping Company had humble beginnings, for Jim Cormier at least, who remembered his 2011 volunteer gig at Colchester Neighborhood Farm. A Plymouth resident, Cormier lost his job with a Fall River book company and his friends, Ron and Conni Maribett, needed help on the farm they managed in Plympton. With nothing much else to do, Cormier headed over one day and filled in, cleaning up after the animals, weeding and helping with the harvest.
“I knew nothing about animals and farms,” Cormier said. “I grew up in Hyannis.So, if someone says ‘farm,’ to me, I think cranberries.”

The months went by, and Cormier found a job at Lowe’s, all the while continuing his work at the farm, which had become a joy for him. He loved the animals in particular, and jumped when Elaine Philbrick, a member of the cooperative farm, contacted him about a goat business.

Philbrick, who owned four goats, told Cormier she planned to rent them to a Cohasset business that wanted a difficult parcel of land cleared.

“Count me in,” Cormier responded.

And from that moment on, he has been up to his eyeballs in goats, contracts for goats and a whole lot of fur.

“If you told me 10 years ago that I would co-own and run a goat business, I would have said you were out of your mind,” Cormier said. “I went to school for broadcasting and film, anticipating a job as a program direction. Never in a million years did I anticipate this. It’s just a weird confluence of things.”

Spend an hour with Cormier and his herd and you might be surprised by how friendly and engaging these creatures can be. They only have bottom teeth and do not bite. But, they do love to be scratched and fussed over, and spend a lot of time playing when there’s no brush to devour.

The Goatscaping Company now has dozens upon dozens of goats happily chewing up brush and clearing inhospitable areas that have plagued landowners for years. In addition to avoiding a nasty rash or worse, customers also find this approach environmentally friendly, since it involves no chemicals and no machinery.

For more information on The Goatscaping Company, visit www.gogreengoat.comor www.facebook.com/goatscaping. To schedule a goat-clearing job, contact the company at gogreengoat@gmail.com or 617-283-4088.

Follow Emily Clark on Twitter @emilyOCM.

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NEW BUSINESS: The Goatscaping Company

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