Humane Education

Cultivating Compassion and a More Sustainable Future
In-Classroom Programming, Youth Advocacy, and Curriculum Resources

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 a FREE 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. We also provide online resources for students and teachers.

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 Los Angeles metropolitan area and 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.

Tanya Steele, the UK Chief Executive of the World Wildlife Fund, stated, “We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.” Scientific literacy is the key to mitigating the effects of global climate change, and arming students with the skills and knowledge to make informed choices and take positive action is at the core of environmental education.

Resources for Teachers & Students

Youth Advocacy

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.

Sustainable Future Curriculum

Our modern food system has a profound impact on the environment – polluting our land, air, and water; depleting natural resources; and contributing to global climate change. Farm Sanctuary offers a free curriculum for middle and high school teachers, exploring animal agriculture’s effects on our planet and building scientific literacy on environmental phenomena related to our food system. Learn more.

In-Classroom Programming

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.

Environmental Impacts & Our Food System

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.

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

NYC and Philadelphia Humane Educator

Ben Araya has been a part of the Farm Sanctuary team since 2011. 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.

Ben lives in Brooklyn, NY. Born in Chile, Ben is a native Spanish language speaker.

San Francisco Bay Area Humane Educator

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 feline companions Calvin and Celia. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in humane education through the Institute for Humane Education.

Los Angeles Metro Area Humane Educator

Kamekə Brown started with Farm Sanctuary in 2015 as a shelter intern. After working with AmeriCorps, state and national parks, and other nonprofit organizations, she was looking for a meaningful service opportunity that would benefit farm animals. Her experience interning with Farm Sanctuary taught her of the importance of sanctuary and the power of multi-species community. She then joined the Farm Sanctuary staff as a Volunteer Program Coordinator prior to her current role as Southern California Humane Educator. Kamekə received her master’s degree in social change and now lives in Los Angeles with her canine partners, Chaz and Kaia.

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

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