Fair season is just around the corner, but many of the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club members at Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Aldermere Farm in Rockport are already winning praise and awards for a variety of things outside of the show ring.

Ellie Pendelton, who has been a member of Aldermere Achievers 4-H club for four years, has been selected to attend the 2013 National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. This is a competitive placement with young people from each state applying to be selected. The National 4-H Congress is an annual educational conference that brings together 4-H delegates between the ages of 14 and 19 from across America to share cultural experiences and discuss important issues facing youth. This five-day event is typically held during the weekend of Thanksgiving and has been hosted in Atlanta since 1998. Throughout the conference, 4-H delegates attend numerous workshops, participate in community service activities, and listen to speakers in an effort to develop compassion and increase social awareness.

Pendleton has a number of projects going on this year through 4-H and through other agricultural initiatives. She now owns a steer and a lamb of her own that she will be marketing to sell in the fall. She is also participating in this summer’s “Cow Camp” where cattle from other farms come to Aldermere for a summer on the coast, the senior 4-H members care for them, train them and then show them at fairs for the farms, who in turn pay room and board to Aldermere and compensate the kids for their work. This works out to be a nice summer job for them.

Lucy Heal, also a longtime Aldermere Achiever 4-H member and previous Five Towns CTC STAR Farm Hand participant, was recently awarded a heifer calf from the New England Galloway Group’s Heifer Project initiative. The New England Galloway Group provides support and education for Belted Galloway and Galloway cattle breeders in the New England region. The NEGG also sponsors a Heifer Project, through which they donate Belted Galloway heifers to deserving youth recipients in an effort to foster new interest in the Beltie breed. Heal will be raising this calf at her home farm along with another heifer that she purchased from Aldermere Farm.

She has been building up her own farm for a number of years now, which also includes one sheep, one goat, a dozens of chickens, seven guinea hens, four dogs, five cats, a rabbit, and one pig. She had more pigs, but sold them and used the profits to buy her 4-H project heifer, Aldermere Ziny.

“The NEGG heifer calf was previously named Libby, but I have decided to call her Belle. They are both doing very well and seem to enjoy their new home. I have already shown them at two events, the National Belted Galloway Sale at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds, and at the New England Livestock Exposition at the Windsor Fairgrounds. At NBGS Belle was awarded fourth in her class, and at NELE, she was awarded second in her class. Ziny was awarded first in her class at NBGS, and at NELE she was awarded second in her class," Heal said.

To add to the long list of achievements this year, Heidi Baker, the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club Leader, was recently named as Maine’s 2012 State 4-H Volunteer of the Year for her work with the Aldermere Achievers as well as her leadership in designing and creating the Farm to Fair displays based at Union Fair. She helped get four 8×12 sheds donated for the educational display, which were built by the local tech school students with local businesses donating the materials. Each shed was accessorized to help fair attendees learn about the beef, poultry, blueberry, and fiber industries in Maine.

Baker is a past president of the Knox-Lincoln 4-H Leaders Association and was recently promoted to Herd Manager at Aldermere Farm. Along with her role as the 4-H Leader of the Aldermere Achievers, she will assume full responsibility for cattle selection, sales, and breeding, as well as cattle health and nutrition at the farm. Baker is the daughter of Aldermere Farm General Manager, Ron Howard, and the granddaughter of Dwight Howard, the Farm Manager under the previous owners of Aldermere Farm, Albert and Marion Chatfield. With Baker living on the property with her family, it makes for four generations of Howards’ who have set down roots at Aldermere Farm and who have helped mold it into what it is today!

This year there are eight youth, ages 12-17, in the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club and one adult leader and all them put in a great amount of work with the animals and in doing chores around the farm.

Program Manager, Sarah Post, shares that “Maine Coast Heritage Trust is honored to have this group of young folks and their families as part of the farm. We are so excited about all these accomplishments as well as the club’s community outreach efforts in promoting agriculture and their individual work to advance their skills and knowledge. They are a true asset to our community.”