Humane Education

Cultivating Compassion In-Classroom Program

I learned that…you guys are saving animals and helping the future!

Jacob, 6th grader, The Ditmas Junior High School, Brooklyn, NY

Recognizing that middle school and high school students sitting in classrooms right now are tomorrow’s leaders — in business, education, government, social justice activism, and all spheres of public life — Farm Sanctuary is educating young hearts and minds about our modern food system. The natural sense of compassion that many youth possess for animals, combined with critical thinking skills and knowledge of our food system, is a powerful force for positive change.

With this in mind, Farm Sanctuary offers an age-appropriate introduction to issues of our food system through an in-classroom guest presentation by our Humane Educator, featuring the stories of the individual animals who call Farm Sanctuary home and a virtual tour of our sanctuary.

On the East Coast, our program is currently being offered in the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas as well as New Jersey and Connecticut. On the West Coast, the program is offered in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are a middle or high school educator in this region, we hope you will contact us to schedule a presentation for your classroom today!

Why Humane Education

As awareness of factory farming and the intelligent, social, emotional nature of farm animals has grown among the public, addressing these issues in the classroom has become a critical component of a comprehensive education preparing young people for a changing world and the future challenges their generation will face.

Offering humane education to your students can be rewarding as a teacher but it can also benefit them! Studies have shown that humane education has benefits for academic performance as well as student health and development.

The Presentation

Meet the Animals: A Virtual Tour of Farm Sanctuary

This presentation gives students the opportunity to visit the sanctuary from their classroom seats. We take students on a virtual tour of the sanctuary through photos and video and introduce them to the animals who call Farm Sanctuary home. As part of telling the animals’ histories, we share background on the conditions these animals came from and the realities of our modern food system in an age-appropriate way. We also offer information about how plant-based food choices and reducing your consumption of animal products is a great step to take toward helping animals.

Farm Sanctuary’s Meet the Animals Presentation is available for 40-, 60-, and 90-minute classes.

As part of our presentation, we offer a Virtual Reality experience that transports students to Farm Sanctuary’s shelter in upstate New York where they come face to face with rescued cows, chickens, sheep, goats, and pigs.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is an exciting, emergent technology that is increasingly being explored as a new tool for education. Through Farm Sanctuary’s Virtual Reality Sanctuary Tour, we offer students an interactive and highly engaging experience that deepens their understanding and retention of the educational material.

When students put on our Virtual Reality headsets they experience a three-and-a-half-minute VR video featuring a 360-degree view of Farm Sanctuary’s New York shelter — they feel like they’re really there! Students who partake in our Virtual Reality Tour are transported outside of the classroom and directly into the beautiful pastures of our upstate New York shelter. During their VR experience, students get up close and personal with our rescued animals and take in a glimpse of their daily lives.

Virtual Reality (VR) may be the type of educational breakthrough that comes along once in a generation, heralding a tectonic shift toward immersive content for teaching and instruction.

Our Humane Educators

East Coast Humane Educator Ben Araya

Ben Araya has been a part of the Farm Sanctuary team for six years. Prior to his role as Humane Educator, Ben worked as a Tour Guide at Farm Sanctuary’s Watkins Glen shelter. In this role, he introduced guests to our beloved family of rescued farm animals and educated thousands of visitors about the factory farming industry through their stories.

Now, as a Humane Educator, Ben takes his personal connection with the rescued animals at Farm Sanctuary and brings the sanctuary experience into the classroom.

Native to Chile, Ben is a native Spanish language speaker.

West Coast Humane Educator Maddie Krasno

Maddie Krasno first joined Farm Sanctuary in 2017 as a Tour Guide at the Watkins Glen shelter. Prior to her roles as Tour Guide and now Humane Educator, Maddie worked for numerous sanctuaries, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and advocacy groups throughout the country and abroad before finding her home with Farm Sanctuary.

Maddie resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her leisure time, she enjoys a good hike, time on her yoga mat, and playtime with her furry companion Calvin cat. She is currently pursuing a master’s in humane education through the Institute for Humane Education.

Teacher Testimonials

Ben was an excellent guest speaker. His presentation was engaging and he provided students excellent information. All of the students learned something new. I especially liked the varied format. He had them watch and listen to a presentation, he had them get up and try and fit in a small space, he had them write what they learned on a post-it note, and ended with the Virtual Reality. It was educational, interesting and engaging. The time went fast. When I asked the students how they liked the presentation I received all positive feedback. They said ‘He was chill.’ It doesn't get much better. I would definitely have him come back again.

Cindy Wagner, Pascack Hills High School, Montvale, NJ

I think it opened the eyes of my city kids. Many only have a vague idea of a "nice" farm from childhood books. They learned about factory farms and how bad conditions really are. I think it increased awareness of the animals as well. Most kids have no idea where their food comes from; this may have been the first time most of them learned about how their food is treated before it gets to their plates.

The presentation was already great but the VR portion made it awesome!

Ellen Cohen, Phillip A. Randolph Technical School, Philadelphia, PA

Know a middle or high school student who’s interested in farm animal advocacy? Farm Sanctuary’s Youth Leadership Council provides tools and resources, a sense of community, and the chance to connect with like-minded student peers from across the country. Learn more.

Schedule a Presentation

Are you interested in having Farm Sanctuary come to your classes to present?

We would love to present to your students. We can present to as many classes in a day as needed and, schedule permitting, we will come to your school multiple times in order to reach as many classes as we can!

Please provide us with the following information and we will get back to you as quickly as possible in order to schedule a presentation.

Classroom photographs by Derek Goodwin