COSHOCTON, Ohio — The Youth Conservationist Program is starting its 11th year, through the generosity of those interested in the preservation of rare sheep breeds.
More than 115 youth have received heritage breed sheep through this program. Several of the donating breeders have been past recipients, such as Hannah Jackson from Carlisle, Pa. She received her Scottish Blackface ewe in 2006 from Richard and Anne Gentry of Braeburn Farm in Roseland Va., and in turn will be donating a ewe in 2009.
At this time, breeds that have been pledged are Bluefaced Leicester, Finn, Hog Island, Icelandic, Jacob, Karakul, Leicester Longwool, Lincoln, Navajo-Churro, Scottish Blackface, Shetland, Tunis and Wensleydale.
Interested youth can research breeds by logging on to the University of Oklahoma’s Web site, http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/.
Youth interested in applying for the 2009 Youth Conservationist Program:
• Must be between 9 and 18.
• Submit an application postmarked by April 1 that includes: An essay which introduces you; explains your experience with animals; explains your interest in sheep; and answers the question, “Why I would like to help preserve a heritage breed of sheep?”
• The applicant should indicate if they wish to be considered for a particular breed or for any of the breeds available.
• Each applicant must include a letter of recommendation from their 4-H adviser, FFA adviser, veterinarian, teacher or clergy.
• The total application/essay should be no more than two pages in length.
• The application must include address, phone and, if available, e-mail address.
Interested youth should contact Elaine Ashcraft at 740-622-1573 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an updated list of breeds available, then submit their letter of application/essay to Elaine Ashcraft, 46118 County Road 58, Coshocton, OH 43812.
Requirements if selected:
• Must be present to receive the ewe at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival May 3.
• Must exhibit the ewe at least twice in 2009 at a county fair or local sheep show and the state fair in the state where the recipient lives.
• Must breed the ewe to a registered ram (of her breed) in the fall of 2009, consulting the donor breeder for recommendations.
• Must either use the ewe’s fleece to personally make a wool item or sell the fleece to a spinner, felter or weaver.
• Must submit a one- to two-page report, with pictures, to the donor breeder by April 30, 2010.