Incorporating Humane Education into Shelter Programming by Justin Kurup, Easy Bay SPCA

September 28, 2016 7:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

This year at the East Bay SPCA we piloted our first-ever high school Animal Camp. We marketed our camps as a veterinary and service-focused experience. Camp staff members developed a curriculum that was engaging and rewarding for a diverse demographic of campers—we knew the typical songs and games weren’t going to fly! We decided to order the free alternatives from the Science Bank – a critical care Jerry (dog), critical care Fluffy (cat), heart and breath simulator, and an IV trainer. We created an activity called “Vet Tech Stations” where the high school campers traveled around the room to different stations to work with some of the alternatives. The campers were so engaged in learning how everything worked and asked in-depth questions about anatomy to figure out the medical mysteries we created for them. They spent over an hour moving between the products getting hands-on experience with what seemed like real animals. They learned how to draw blood, set a catheter, wrap a broken leg, listen for heart murmurs, and so much more. Having the alternatives was an invaluable experience for our campers this summer. When the rest of our shelter staff found out about the tools we had brought in, they were envious. Even our veterinarians took a swing at the alternatives after camp one day! Previously, we had taught our students of this age similar lessons in veterinary care but it was never quite what we wanted. We tried “vaccinating” oranges, but fruit was no fun. We tried practicing wraps on stuffed animals, but there was something about the realistic Animalearn mannequins that left a lasting impression for these campers. At the end of camp, we like to have our campers make a piece of art. On it they have to write what their favorite activity from camp was. It was no surprise when we saw piece after piece flood our desk with three words – “Vet Tech Stations.” 

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