Shepherd Seminar – Fundamentals of Sheep Colors with Dr. Polly Matzinger

Just as a painter can create all sorts of colors and patterns by mixing a small number of basic colors, and then putting them in different places, so it is with sheep. Sheep make three different pigments and then send them into different places on their bodies to make all the various colors and patterns that we see. In this class we will start with a description of the cells that make the pigments, where they sit in the skin, and what kinds of instructions they get from the skin cells around them. We will cover the difference between a sheep’s color and its pattern, and why the color “white” is really not a color but a pattern. We will go into the mutation that created white sheep, and its evolutionary history, showing how white sheep probably occurred more than once in history, in different parts of the world. We will also cover the two different kinds of black sheep and why one of those types can be hidden for generations of white sheep and then suddenly show up as a black lamb.

Dr Matzinger is an immunologist ( and sheep farmer. She teaches basic and advanced immunology, and the genetics and biology of sheep color and breeding.

This seminar will be conducted via Zoom and is being hosted on Enroll here. You can enroll up to 30 minutes before the start of the seminar. Enrolled students will receive an immediate email confirmation of enrollment, and on the day before the seminar, a reminder with Zoom link to join the class via email. Students will also be able to join the Zoom sessions from their Lessonface dashboard. Students can connect to Zoom using a tablet or computer with reliable internet. To actively participate online students also need a webcam with microphone. Registrants may participate live on Saturday, May 1 at 7 pm, or watch the recorded session anytime within 30 days (must have registered in order to view recording).

2021 Festival Gear Now Available

Shop online, or buy in-store at the Sheepman Supply showroom in Frederick, Maryland. Choose from "staying home and staying safe until 2022" t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags. posters, and note cards. Your purchases help support the Festival.
Sample of tote bag

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