Meet Erin Rollins, 4-H Alumna and Future Vet
Aldermere Farm became a Maine Coast Heritage Trust preserve 20 years ago, after Albert Chatfield Jr. bequeathed the farm to MCHT in 1999. Since that time, MCHT has cared for the saltwater farm and world-class herd of Belted Galloways while adopting youth agricultural programs and holding community events to connect people to Aldermere Farm.
Over the years, dozens of young people have come up through MCHT’s youth agricultural programming at Aldermere Farm, including Erin Rollins. Erin is now in her final year at Atlantic Veterinary College. Below, she shares what she learned as a participant in the Farm Hands and 4-H programs, and how they set her on the path towards becoming a veterinarian.
“I honestly don’t know what I would be doing with my life right now if I hadn’t been a part of Farm Hands and the Aldermere Achievers 4-H program at Aldermere Farm Preserve. From middle school through high school, I spent anywhere from two to seven days a week at the farm taking care of the animals. I loved spending time there, and I’m still friends with everyone I met. It was nice to have a social circle outside of school.
I’ve always loved all kinds of animals, but I learned to love cows at Aldermere Farm. I think I’m the only person in vet school who has a soft spot for beef cattle—Aldermere Belties probably spoiled me. There’s even a photo of me asleep beside one of the cows I raised.
At Aldermere Farm I learned about being responsible for something other than myself. Probably most importantly, 4-H instilled in me a sense of responsibility and hard work, which definitely is needed in veterinary school. I learned if you have a goal and you work hard towards it, you can achieve it. I’m now in my last year of veterinary school. It’s challenging, but I take it one day at a time. When I think of what I’ve accomplished, I feel proud.”