The Cal Poly Pomona Pre-Veterinary and Poly Purlers clubs hosted Knit-a-thons where they knitted and crocheted ear wraps for calves located at a Montana ranch.
Dr. Kathleen Earle’s family owns some land near Sarrazin Ranch in Livingston, Montana. Earle, a lecturer in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, serves as the advisor of both clubs. Because of her family ties, she was able to connect with several ranchers in the area, including the owner of Sarrazin Ranch.
One day, Earle was visiting Sarrazin Ranch and informed the owner of the CPP Pre-Veterinary and Poly Purlers clubs.
“He asked if our club could knit the wraps for his calves since they are born in the late winter, early spring, when it is still very cold in Montana,” said Earle. “It’s not unusual for them to suffer frostbite on their ears. Their little ear flaps literally freeze, and the tissue dies and falls off. When the wraps are placed on their heads right after birth, they hold the ears close to their heads for warmth, so they don’t freeze.”
Earle shared this information with the student leaders of the clubs who agreed to take on this project as a way to contribute to the welfare of the animals.
The Pre-Veterinary club is dedicated to preparing students for a career in veterinary science or simply for students who enjoy working with animals. The club welcomes students of all majors and provides members with community service opportunities as well as the ability to network with professionals and students in the pre-veterinary field. Poly Purlers, its spin off club, aims to help students, especially those on the pre-veterinary track, enhance their hand strength and surgery skills through knitting.
The clubs hosted the first Knit-a thon gathering via Zoom on Nov. 5 and a second gathering in-person at Snow Creek Park in the city of Walnut on Nov. 12. At the gatherings, members were able to make ear wraps while socializing and having fun. The clubs provided supplies like yarn, needles and crochet hooks to their members, which were donated by various yarn and knit shops that wanted to support the cause.
CPP Pre-Veterinary Club president and animal science sophomore Christine Berry shared that the other board members of the club and herself think that the best part of this project is “knowing that the wraps will keep the calves warm this winter.”
Club officers also demonstrated how to knit and crochet the ear wraps at the gatherings. Essentially, members would knit the yarn into the shape of a rectangle and sew the two ends of the rectangle together to form a cylinder to make the ear wrap.
“My favorite part about making ear wraps is being able to finish one,” said Julia Portales, CPP Poly Purlers president and an animal science junior. “It’s a huge sense of relief and excitement to hold a finished product in your hand.”
Members of both clubs have made several ear wraps and are continuing to make more during their own time throughout winter break. The clubs are hoping to make at least 75 ear wraps made before Earle delivers them to Sarrazin Ranch in January right before the start of the Spring 2022 semester.
“The ranchers can wash and reuse them so even if we don’t make that many, we should protect a lot of ears with what we do get made,” said Earle.