Farm Sanctuary Humane Educator in the classroom
Education

Humane Education

Farm Sanctuary Humane Educator in the classroom

Growing Compassion

Frankie lamb running through fields at Farm Sanctuary

Recognizing that middle school and high school students sitting in classrooms today 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. Studies have also shown that humane education has benefits for academic performance as well as student health and development.

Farm Sanctuary provides free age-appropriate presentations—both virtually and in-classroom—by our humane educators, as well as free downloadable curriculums for teachers and parents that meet Next Generation Science Standards and National Art Standards.

On the East Coast, our in-classroom programs are offered in the New York City and Philadelphia metro areas, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Central-Western New York. On the West Coast, the program is offered in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area.

UPDATE: During this extraordinary time, all presentations are only being offered virtually. Please check back in August for updates on the availability of in-classroom presentations.

Virtual Presentations for Summer Camps

Students learning from an online Farm Sanctuary presentation

Farm Sanctuary is offering virtual humane education presentations for summer camps of all ages, pre-K to 12th grade. We invite camp organizers to access the exciting roster of virtual programming listed below free of charge.

If you are interested in a Farm Sanctuary guest presentation – offered in flexible 20, 30, 45, or 60 minute sessions – for your camp, please contact us at [email protected]. We look forward to joining your camp!

Email us

Virtual Programming

Animals of Farm Sanctuary Classes

  • Sanctuary Sing-along & Puppet Show

    A LIVE online class for grades pre-K to 1st grade
    Join Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators for a clever and inspiring sing-along and puppet show, featuring different animal stories each class.

    Email us
  • Animal Tales: Learn about the Animals of Farm Sanctuary

    A LIVE online class for grades K-5
    Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators introduce students to the animals who call Farm Sanctuary home, featuring different residents each class.

    Email us
  • Exploring our Food System with the Animals of Farm Sanctuary

    A LIVE online class for grades 6-12
    Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators explore issues of our food system and we can all be a part of positive change.

    Email us

Virtual Programming

Art Classes

  • Sanctuary Art Class: Learn How to Draw Farm Animals

    A LIVE online class for grades K-6
    Join Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators for a sanctuary-inspired art class with a focus on techniques for drawing farm animals, featuring different animals and scenes each class.

    Email us

Virtual Programming

Environmental Sustainability Classes

  • Happy, Healthy, and Free: A Sing-along and Puppet Show

    A LIVE online class for pre-K-1st grade
    Join Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators for an inspiring sing-along and puppet show celebrating a vision for a more compassionate and sustainable future for all.

    Email us
  • Imagine Compassion: For Earth, Animals, and Community

    A LIVE online class for grades 2-5
    Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators explore the environmental impacts of our modern food system and a positive vision for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

    Email us
  • Environmental Impacts and our Food System

    A LIVE online class for grades 6-12
    Farm Sanctuary’s humane educators explore the environmental impacts of our modern food system and a positive vision for a more compassionate and sustainable future.

    Email us

Free Sustainable Future Curriculums

Exploring the Environmental Impacts of Food

Vertical explainer photo 1 - Cow greenhouse gas emissions graphic

Global Warming & Our Food System:
A Greenhouse Effect Inquiry Lab

Lesson Time
Section 1: 60–75 minutes
Section 2: 60–75 minutes

Overview

The surface of the earth is warmed by the sun’s radiation. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of the Earth “trap” some of this radiation that would otherwise be released back into space, warming the planet. This is known as the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect, there would be no life on earth.

  • Students will develop a model to explore how the greenhouse effect works in an inquiry-based laboratory activity.
  • Students will differentiate between the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change.
  • Students will also investigate some of the factors that are increasing greenhouse gas emissions and resulting in global climate change such as clearing land for agriculture and raising animals for food.
Download
Cow greenhouse gas emissions graphic

Global Warming & Our Food System:
A Greenhouse Effect Inquiry Lab

Lesson Time
Section 1: 60–75 minutes
Section 2: 60–75 minutes

Overview

The surface of the earth is warmed by the sun’s radiation. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere of the Earth “trap” some of this radiation that would otherwise be released back into space, warming the planet. This is known as the greenhouse effect. Without the greenhouse effect, there would be no life on earth.

  • Students will develop a model to explore how the greenhouse effect works in an inquiry-based laboratory activity.
  • Students will differentiate between the greenhouse effect, global warming, and climate change.
  • Students will also investigate some of the factors that are increasing greenhouse gas emissions and resulting in global climate change such as clearing land for agriculture and raising animals for food.
Download
Polar Bear standing on ice

Environmental Impacts & Our Food System:
Exploring the Evidence

Lesson Time
Section 1: 60–75 minutes
Section 2: 60–75 minutes

Overview

Modern animal agriculture has a pronounced impact on natural resources like land, water, and fossil fuel. Industrialized agriculture or factory farms, along with small farms, produce significant amounts of waste and are inextricably connected to the scale at which humans are able to raise billions of animals each year for food. The sheer number of animals raised for food has sparked concerns about animal agriculture, including the magnitude to which it is polluting our land, air, and water as well as contributing to global climate change.

  • For this activity, students will learn how the volume and scale of modern animal agriculture is connected to pollution, depletion, and degradation of natural resources and global climate change.
  • Students in small groups will construct an argument supported by evidence that explores a phenomenon related to animal agriculture and the environment.
Download
Graph showing breakdown of worldwide GhG emissions.

Food Production & CO2 Equivalents:
Creating a Computational Simulation

Lesson Time
Section 1: 50 minutes
Section 2: 50 minutes
Section 3: 50 minutes

Overview

Global warming can be attributed to an increase in greenhouse gas production. Many people assume that this increase primarily results from the burning of fossil fuels, for instance from cars, but the agricultural industry is actually a major contributor. In this lesson, students will compare the carbon footprint of different types of foods to explore where greenhouse gases are coming from and which foods produce the most emissions.

  • Students will use carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) to compare the amount of greenhouse gases released from different processes during food production.
  • Students will use a spreadsheet to graph data in order to compare the CO2e for plant-based and animal-based food production.
  • Students will then use a formula to calculate the number of miles driven by a typical car for 1 kg of different types of food.
Download
Cow walking through an industrialized farming area

Animal Agriculture & the Environment:
Creating a Computational Representation

Lesson Time
Section 1: 50 minutes
Section 2: 50 minutes
Section 3: 50 minutes
Section 4: 50 minutes

Overview

For this activity, students will learn how computational representations are used to simplify mathematical relationships. Students will research and gather data on the impact that the rise in industrialized farming has on the environment and the far-reaching consequences that animal agriculture has on humans. Students will use these data to create an infographic, a format that uses computational representations in order to visually explain a topic.

  • Students will explore different types of infographics and methods for graphically representing data.
  • Students will develop a claim based on their research of a topic related to animal agriculture and its effects on humans and the environment.
  • Students will locate data that supports their claim and express it graphically, creating at least three computational representations (through pie charts, bar graphs, etc.).
Download

Free Visual Arts Curriculums

Animals and Art: The Story Behind a Portrait

Vertical explainer photo 1 - Peeking Pig / Artist: Jane O'Hara

Overview

Animals & Art: The Story Behind a Portrait engages students in learning about the lives of sanctuary animals and representing them as individuals through the creation of original animal portraits.

  • Students will create art based on an individual animal’s story to which they feel a personal connection or a sense of inspiration.
  • Students will research animal histories as a method of inquiry and basis for art-making on an unfamiliar subject.
  • Students will explore the power of images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors.
Download
Peeking Pig / Artist: Jane O'Hara

Overview

Animals & Art: The Story Behind a Portrait engages students in learning about the lives of sanctuary animals and representing them as individuals through the creation of original animal portraits.

  • Students will create art based on an individual animal’s story to which they feel a personal connection or a sense of inspiration.
  • Students will research animal histories as a method of inquiry and basis for art-making on an unfamiliar subject.
  • Students will explore the power of images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors.
Download
Floyd from SAINTS Rescue / Artist: Twyla Francois

Overview

Animals & Art: The Story Behind a Portrait engages students in learning about the lives of sanctuary animals and representing them as individuals through the creation of original animal portraits.

  • Students will create art based on an individual animal’s story to which they feel a personal connection or a sense of inspiration.
  • Students will explore animal histories as a basis for art-making and then create artist statements to explain their personal artwork.
  • Students will explore the power of images to influence ideas, feelings, and behaviors.
Download
Daisy from SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary / Artist: Lindsay Leigh Lewis

Overview

Animals & Art: The Story Behind a Portrait engages students in learning about the lives of sanctuary animals and representing them as individuals through the creation of original animal portraits.

  • Students will create art based on an individual animal’s story to which they feel a personal connection.
  • Students will explore animal stories as a basis for art-making and create artist statements to explain their personal artwork.
  • Students will analyze components in visual imagery and the power of art to convey messages and shape ideas.
Download

In-Classroom Programming

Vertical explainer photo 1 - Humane educator gives a presentation in the classroom

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.

Schedule
Humane educator gives a presentation in the classroom

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.

Schedule
Environmental Curriculum Infographic

This presentation introduces students to the ways in which animal agriculture impacts our environment and contributes to global climate change. We will explore a variety of topics including greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water use, pollution, species extinction, waste management, and the impact that factory farming has on community health. Many young people feel a sense of urgency to take action when they learn about the current state of our environment. Farm Sanctuary offers students practical steps they can take to make a positive difference and reduce the impacts of climate change.

Farm Sanctuary’s Environmental Impacts & Our Food System presentation is available for 40-, 60-, and 90-minute classes.

As part of our presentation, we offer a virtual reality experience that provides background information on Farm Sanctuary as an organization and our broader mission to protect farm animals. Wearing virtual reality goggles, students are transported to one of Farm Sanctuary’s shelters where they come face to face with cows, chickens, sheep, goats, and pigs who reside at our sanctuaries.

Schedule
Child wearing VR goggles in the classroom

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.

Schedule

Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders

"Meet the Animals" - Farm Sanctuary's Humane Education Program

VIDEO 4:15

"Meet the Animals" - Farm Sanctuary's Humane Education Program

Download Audio

Transcript

[SCHOOL BELLS RINGING] My name is Ben and I am here today to talk to you all about Farm Sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary is a farm-animal rescue. You guys have heard of cat and dog shelters before, right? We rescue farm animals.


So my name is Ben and I am a humane-educator at Farm Sanctuary. So I go into middle schools and high schools. Introduce the students to our rescued animals through pictures and video. And through a presentation students get a better idea of how animals are treated in today's modern farms. There is so much going on that people don't know about. For us it's important to raise awareness. How these animals are treated with anything but care. You know, they're kept in really terrible conditions that none of us would want to be in. And none of us would want our cats or dogs to be in.


I was surprised because everybody-- most of us-- were clueless. We didn't know how animals were treated.


Honestly, I didn't really think about it. I avoided it.


The image you think of a farm is like this big old red barn, and little chicks running around everywhere. But the factory farms are these big, aluminum tins just filled with chickens.


And to give you guys a better idea of how tightly confined these chickens are, can I get three of you guys to come up here?


Me and my friends volunteered. Three of us, we were in this rectangle box. And we were supposed to represent the birds in the cage. So we're all just stuck together, and it's just really uncomfortable. And it kind of made me feel bad.


They have no space. Can't even turn around. It's just sad knowing that they have to live a life like this.


Our food system is in need of reform. Our hope is that through this program we can empower students to develop solutions to create a better world for the future. But it's also a great gateway to broader issues of our food system, including environmental impacts, public health and social justice.


Most of them have never had the opportunity to pet, or to experience a farm animal, the way they would their dogs or their cats.


So, what we're going to do next, is we're going to move on to the virtual reality aspect of the presentation. Let's have these four tables come up here.


Yeah we're really excited to bring in virtual reality into the classroom. As soon as we bring it out, kids are really, really excited at the thought of doing it. And it's also as close as you can get to a hands-on experience.


It was really fun to look around, and see them running around. And the cow coming up to me. And I was like, "Whoa, wait, wait a second."


So, I don't know if you were with me in the classroom, but I definitely screamed when I saw the cow.


[SQUEAL]


I was going absolutely crazy. Not only is it informative, it gives you a 360 look around at everything that's going on.


They were definitely engaged by when they were doing it. You know, it's almost like they got to be a little kids again. You know, I mean, in sixth grade they all act like they're teenagers but they're really still little kids. So that was really awesome.


The best part is seeing the sense of wonder and excitement that the kids experience when they meet these animals. They connect with them, they fall in love, and they want to help them. They want to create change.


I want other people to know how animals live. That we should be treating them like they are humans as well.


I have more of an emotional connection to wanting to help them instead of, you know, just letting them be in the factory farms.


That's absolutely crazy how one person can change your mind that quickly.


What surprised me today is what this organization is doing. How they're taking these animals, rescuing them, being their superhero.


What I see a lot is kids will be appalled at the treatment of animals inside of modern farms. They'll be shocked but they'll also come away with feeling like they've understood their lives so much more. And that's what I hope to give them, at least, a better understanding of their lives and their personalities.

VIDEO 4:15

"Meet the Animals" - Farm Sanctuary's Humane Education Program

“Most kids have no idea where their food comes from...[they] learned how their food is treated before it gets to their plate.”
-Ellen Cohen
Phillip A. Randolph Technical School, Philadelphia, PA

Youth Advocacy

Youth at Farm Sanctuary event

Know a middle or high school student who’s interested in farm animal advocacy? Farm Sanctuary’s Youth Action for Farm Animals resources provide youth activists tools and inspiration, a sense of community, and the chance to connect with like-minded student peers from across the country.

Learn more
Youth at Farm Sanctuary event

Contact Us

Stay Connected

Thank you!

Join our email list to hear about emergency rescues, receive our monthly eNewsletter, learn about ways to take action, and more.

Join the millions of Farm Sanctuary followers on social media.

Dynamic Message

Captcha failed. Please try again.