Putting the Past to Work for Our Future: The Livestock Conservancy’s International Heritage Breeds Week at Moab Museum

Celebrating the Livestock Conservancy’s efforts to protect America’s endangered livestock and poultry breeds from extinction

May 15-21, 2023 was The Livestock Conservancy‘s International Heritage Breeds Week, a recognition and celebration the Moab Museum hosted through a local lens, providing educational programs on Utah-specific heritage breeds.

On Wednesday, May 17, Sam Cunningham of Cunnington Farms joined us at the Moab Museum to present on her Navajo-Churro Sheep, a breed intricately and intractably tied to Navajo culture, and a breed that nearly faced extinction in the early-mid twentieth century. Sam brought several of her Navajo-Churro rams to the Museum lawn for visitors to lay eyes on.

Thursday, May 18th brought Stephen Shultz, Naomi Wilson, and Melissa Wardle to the Museum lawn with their Colonial Spanish Horses – Sulphur Herd. These Canyonlands Backcountry Horsemen of Utah members, presented Utah’s Sulphur Herd – Mustangs with Colonial Spanish Horse Heritage providing an opportunity for guests to see and learn about this historic heritage breed found here in Utah. The Sulphur Herd has for centuries survived with little-to-no outside influence high in the remote juniper-covered valleys of Utah’s Mountain Home Range. Sulphur Herd horses are believed to be one of the purest herds of Spanish horses left in America.

Finally, on Friday, May 19th, through a generous donation from The Nature Conservancy, Canyonlands Research Center, Dugout Ranch, and the Redd Family, the Museum served Criollo beef cooked in two ways on the Museum lawn. Matthew Redd and Mike Duniway of the USGS presented Are Criollo a better (and tastier) breed for a Warming Colorado Plateau? — an opportunity for guests to learn the history of the Criollo cattle, differences in how Criollo and traditional breeds use the range, and range-to-table marketability. Chef Logan Savoy came down to the Moab Valley to cook Carbonada Criolla Beef Stew: hearty Criollo beef stew with tomatoes, onions, and winter squash, accented with apricots and raisins, and Ground Criollo Beef and toasted Flatbread: seasoned braised criollo beef accompanied by garlic herb toasted flatbread. Also thanks to BYU Charles Redd Center for Western Studies for their generous Public Programming Grant that helped sponosor this event.

Mike Duniway of the USGS presents on the CRC’s Criollo Cattle Project

Special thanks to all our speakers and presenters during International Heritage Breeds Week, the fantastic experiences with the heritage breeds, and the tasty Museum lawn meal! The Museum team and the community look forward to Dr. Temple Grandin’s visit on Tuesday, May 30th at Moab’s historic Star Hall.