Clarks Grove teenager featured in National Geographic

Published 10:52 pm Friday, December 8, 2017

CLARKS GROVE — A local teenager was featured in November’s edition of National Geographic magazine.

Louis Wagner, 16, and his goat, Bella, were pictured in the story by National Geographic photographer R.J. Kern.

The cover of the story on page 104 of the magazine includes pictures of Bella and her sister, Ella, who belongs to Wagner’s cousin, Jayce Lachowitzer, at the Wagner’s hobby farm near Lake Geneva.

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A photo of Wagner and Bella on the second and third pages of the story was taken at the Freeborn County Fair in 2016.

Wagner said he and his cousin were asked by Kern if he could take pictures of the goats in 2016.

Kern traveled to the Wagner’s hobby farm in November 2016 to take pictures of the goats and followed up with Wagner throughout the next year before the story ran last month.

“I was pretty happy about that,” Wagner said.

The story has been shared locally, including at the Albert Lea city pool, where Wagner is a lifeguard.

Wagner’s inclusion in the magazine comes in his 11th year as a 4-H member. A member of the Hayward club of Freeborn County 4-H, Wagner has shown goats for essentially his entire 4-H membership.

He plans to be in 4-H until he graduates.

This year has been a big one for Wagner — he received a state champion award for turkeys at the Minnesota State Fair.

“That was a big to-do, too,” said his mother, Michelle Wagner. “He had a good year.”

Though the goats will retire, the family does not plan to sell the goats.

To Michelle Wagner, 4-H provides her son with skills that will serve him well later in life.

Her two other sons, Derek, 21, and Philipp, 19, also participated in 4-H.

Wagner is taking classes at Riverland Community College, working to get his Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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