Faculty Profile: Nancy Webster, MSW, MPA – Part-time instructor and Full-time Sheep Breeder
Our UMaine School of Social Work part-time faculty members are a multi-faceted group. Nancy Webster, MSW, MPA is an example of a teacher with multiple connecting interests as both a social worker and sheep breeder. In 1989 Nancy left Boston, Massachusetts for life on a small farm in rural Maine. Nancy has been teaching at the School of Social Work since 1997. She has been a longstanding instructor in our Weekend MSW program and teaches social policy in the BSW program in Orono. Along with teaching several courses a year and maintaining a private practice in work with children and families, Nancy has also been raising sheep. Her interest in raising sheep extends back 40 years, and she is particularly committed to raising “heritage breeds” – including the Navajo Churro which were nearly extinct in 1990. At that time, Nancy got involved with the University of Utah Sheep Preservation Project, called Sheep is Life, in efforts to bring back the breed. At this time, the Navajo Churro sheep are on the endangered species list as “threatened” with approximately 3700 in the United States – primarily on Navajo reservations. Nancy is currently raising 22 Navajo sheep and with lambing in March that number will rise to close to 35. Nancy is deeply committed to this breed that was brought close to extinction by the genocide committed on the Navajo people. Several of Nancy’s Navajo Churro ewes have been part of the egg donation project at the Center for Heritage Breeds in Rhode Island. Over the past couple of years, Nancy has also gotten involved with the politics of the sheep industry. She is currently the Secretary of the Maine Sheep Breeders Association and was recently appointed to the American Sheep Industry Board. As a board member, Nancy will spend two weeks in May working on farm bills and farm policy that impacts the nation and Maine. Learn more about the Navajo Churro Sheep.