Colo. sheep producers featured in Ag in the Classroom read

September 10, 2022

DENVER, CO, September 10, 2022 — The Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom program has brought students to a peach orchard and offered a taste of juice from Colorado’s famous Palisade peaches. The program has given students glimpses into the historic and modern-day dairies, produce farms, livestock auctions and agriculture aviation. This year, the tale will be a woolly one.

For the third year, the program has partnered with The Fence Post magazine assistant editor Rachel Gabel to bring Colorado agriculture to students. The Woolly Way: Papou and the Story of Lantern Ridge tells of the role sheep and shepherds have played in Colorado, historically to present-day, including cultural and land management contributions. The book is illustrated by Liz Banman Munsterteiger with stunning illustrations based on historic and modern photos of sheep ranching in Western Colorado.

“The partnership between the Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom program and Rachel Gabel has been phenomenal,” said Jennifer Scharpe, executive director of Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom (CoAITC). “This partnership has helped bring real examples of Colorado agriculture to life for students across Colorado. Last year’s Literacy Project, featuring Colorado peaches, reached more than 10,000 students in over 500 classrooms. We look forward to exceeding those numbers with our 2023 project.”

The Woolly Way trails the Theos family’s sheep through the generations and as they move from their winter grazing in the desert to the shearing shed and the ranch, through Meeker, and to their forest grazing allotment in the White River National Forest. The Theos family has a rich history in the sheep industry, beginning in the 1900s when Angelo Theos arrived in Meeker, Colo., knowing it would be good country for sheep.

“This story that Rachel has written represents some of the legacy and traditions that our family has carried on for five generations,” said Anthony Theos of Swallow Fork Ranch. “We continue to operate on the same soil my great papou did over a century ago. Rachel has captured not only the uniqueness of the sheep industry in her story, but a dream that will hopefully continue for generations to come.”

Educational resources are included in the book and focus on the importance of public lands, sharing public lands with livestock, and the forests of the state. Gabel also includes arborglyphs, symbols and pictographs in aspen trees carved by sheepherders in years gone by in the story as a nod to the state’s history.

“Rachel’s understanding of, and passion for agriculture is evident in the books she has written,” said Bree Poppe, publisher of The Fence Post magazine. “She does a brilliant job of making agriculture accessible, accurate, and interesting to a demographic increasingly disconnected from the people and places that produce the food and fiber the world depends upon.”

The Woolly Way is Gabel’s fourth book. She is the author of Still Good: The Faces of Family Agriculture and The Sweetest Treat, both illustrated by Munsterteiger and used for the Agriculture in the Classroom project, and Kindergarten Rancher, illustrated by Shannon Clark.

The Literacy Project is a free program for prekindergarten through fifth grade students. Teachers can sign up to participate by completing the form on the CoAITC website,

The 2023 Colorado Literacy Project is sponsored by Colorado Sheep & Wool Authority and the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation. Additional sponsors are needed to support the purchase of enough books and classroom activity supplies, which are then donated to the more than 500 participating classrooms. To make a gift, visit

For more information about this and all other Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom programs, contact Jennifer Scharpe at or (970) 818-3308.

Source: Colorado Foundation for Agriculture