By Laura Carper, Education Outreach Manager
The Humane Education program that piloted in a handful of local elementary schools during the month of October was a huge success, even when the lessons didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned. Like any first-time program, it’s one thing to see lessons on paper with objectives carefully set, and a completely different experience to test them out in rooms full of tiny humans!
Sometimes, a thoughtful question from a student turned into a whole new lesson right on the spot — and that’s okay because curiosity is a cornerstone of any great Hume Education program. It’s our goal to spark compassion and empathy for all living things, give them the tools they need to make the world a better place, and awaken their inner activists.
Teachers were essential to the success of this program. Teachers worked incredibly hard to schedule visits, incorporate lessons from our Humane Education curriculum into their already busy days, and thoughtfully provide feedback on how lessons could be amended to best engage their classes.
The program was also boosted by fellow Brother Wolf staff members, who brought their expertise into the classroom to give students a deeper look into particular aspects of our animal rescue work, such as orphaned kitten care and why it’s important that organizations like Brother Wolf help care for animals after natural disasters. They were lively guest speakers, and the kids loved it!
When I think about my own favorite moments throughout the program, two come to mind. The first happened during a first grade class field trip to Brother Wolf’s Animal Sanctuary in Leicester, NC. After meeting the pigs and cows, a student asked “So this is an every animal place?” I knew then and there that the program was making a difference in the way these children were viewing the world.
The second happened when a student asked if it was okay to use a shock collar on a dog. Before I could get a word out, another student asked her “How would you like it if you had to wear a shock collar?” Again, the program was working!
Moving forward, we are broadening the objectives of the Humane Education program and focusing on global issues that affect animals, people, and the environment. These issues are inextricably intertwined, and all must be addressed in order to create a better world for the animals.
For example, the rights we have as humans — to be happy, healthy, respected, and safe from harm — are the same rights we should be extending to non-human animals and our planet. During the program, students will design solutions to stop human and animal injustices, as well as environmental decline.
I’m so excited to empower our future leaders by partnering science with Humane Education! With this program, we have a unique opportunity to engage and inspire youth to challenge cultural norms, exercise compassion, and advocate for the preservation of the planet and all its inhabitants.
As changes in our environment are more frequent and drastic than ever before — creating a record number of animals of all species who need rescue — it is critical to teach compassion and empathy in schools. With your support, we can continue to grow our Humane Education program to empower young people to engage as confident advocates to make the world a better place for generations to come.