Lauren Hall Ruddell, Conservationist and Pack Goat Enthusiast
Name: Lauren Hall Ruddell
Place of Residence: Rush Valley, Utah
Background: Lauren Hall Ruddell became interested in animals of all kinds as a child at the San Diego Zoo. Many family members were longtime zoo employees and so it was natural for her to be at the zoo before, during, and after zoo hours most summer days.
As a teen, Lauren became very involved in horses and hiking. She was able to combine these two passions with a B.A. in Parks and Recreation Management and a minor in zoology. While studying for this degree, she worked in the children’s zoo section of the San Diego Zoo as a keeper and educator. Also during this time, she became interested in global extinction issues such as poaching and habitat fragmentation and destruction. Along with Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet’, MOTHER EARTH NEWS became a great favorite read.
After several years as an endangered species biologist and environmental planner in California, she relocated to the Colorado Rockies. There, sustainable farming and heritage breeds became a new life’s work. Tamworth Pigs and Dexter Cattle were all a part of the early scene. Then came goats and it was love at first sight.
Now, many years later after receiving an advanced degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism with a specialty in wildlife, Lauren is back on the farm at Planet Goat in the Utah high desert, one hour west of Salt Lake City. As the name of the operation suggests, goats are the consuming passion. Nubian dairy goats provide milk and adorable baby goats yearly, while the wethers occasionally, and vigorously, earn their keep in the back country.
Goat packing activities have taken Lauren and her husband, Ed, to many mountain ranges in the Rocky Mountain West. Hiking with goats is truly unlike any other way of experiencing wilderness, and Lauren is still mad about being around goats’ feet on high places. It is a hobby that is growing in popularity rapidly and at Planet Goat, folks can come and stay for goat husbandry and goat packing lessons.
Lauren also operates a small farm store and vegetable stand at Planet Goat. Organic vegetables, milk, meat and cheese are offered from May through October. These activities, plus goat treks, plus hosting B&B visitors, plus teaching equitation with the farm’s horses, keeps her plenty busy most of the year. Work with her own charity, Conservation and Rescue of Endangered Breeds (RACEB), as well as work with the Old Irish Goat Society fills up those cabin fever days of winter.
More information about Lauren and Planet Goat can be had at Planet Goat’s website.