4-H teen honors Virginia Tech student with donation to campus beautification effort

Sale from teen's prize lamb goes to Jeremy Herbstritt Commemorative Tree Grove at Penn State

University, Pa. -- Fifteen-year-old Abbie Spackman can't remember a time when her family didn't have some sheep on their farm. They started as just pets for her, but then a family friend, Mike Herbstritt, invited her and her father to go to a meeting of a 4-H Sheep Club, a program of Penn State Extension, to see what it was like. That same year Spackman showed two lambs at the Grange Fair, with the help of the Herbstritt family. Mike Herbstritt's son, Jeremy, served as a mentor to Spackman over the following years. "We helped each other out with breeding to get better market lambs," she recalled. Once before a show, said Spackman, she and Jeremy shared funny sheep stories and ate pizza.

Jeremy, a Penn State graduate, last spring died in the mass shooting on the Virginia Tech campus.
 
Spackman last summer auctioned her grand champion lamb at the Grange Fair, with the winning bid $2,600, and wrote a note to Grange Fair officials of her intention to donate the proceeds to a fund commemorating Jeremy. The gift is now helping to fund the Jeremy Herbstritt Commemorative Tree Grove, a campus beautification effort of close colleagues of Mike Herbstritt, a Penn State employee, to grow an apple orchard in Jeremy's memory.

"I think the idea of an apple orchard is a way to remember Jeremy's interests in farming, the environment and outdoor activities," said Spackman. "Hopefully this will be a place where people will remember Jeremy and the great things he did." The goal is to plant small saplings sometime next spring, close to the one-year anniversary of Jeremy's death, said Judy Larkin, a colleague of Mike Herbstritt. Larkin said that the location of the orchard has not yet been determined.   

Penn State Extension transfers research-based information to individuals, families, businesses and communities in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties through educational programs designed to meet locally identified needs. Support is provided through a partnership of county, state and federal governments. From improving agriculture and building stronger communities, to developing skills with today's youth, Extension is dedicated to giving Pennsylvanians the means to grow, achieve, compete, go further and do more. For more information, visit http:// www.extension.psu.edu online. Extension is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009