Humane Education & Camps

Children and teens who engage in activities that teach compassion and empathy build a more humane future.

At the Humane Society of Sonoma County and Forget Me Not Farm Children’s Services, we offer a variety of programs that not only educate children and teens about compassion, responsibility, respect, safety and care of animals, but also foster a spirit of cooperative team building, a commitment to community and the human animal bond. Each program is designed with fun age appropriate lessons and activities that promote critical thinking, teamwork, patience and kindness toward all living things.

Camps

Fall Camps (Grades 3rd – 5th)

Afternoon on the Farm

Cost: $150.00

Enjoy fresh air and hands on activities at our fun filled Afternoon on the Farm! Learn all about cleaning, grooming and feeding a wonderful assortment of farm animals! Learn how healthy food is grown and prepared and get ready to roll up your sleeves and take part in harvesting! Fun, fresh air, farm animals and gardening is what this class is all about!

Sessions available, please pick one

Session 1:

Dates: Wednesdays, October 14 – November 11

Time: 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Session 2:

Dates: Fridays, October 16 – November 13

Time: 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Class size is extremely limited so register today!

We are enforcing strict Covid-19 protocols and are requiring that all campers wear a face mask during the entire duration of the class. In addition, we are ensuring that there are only 6 participants in each session. Children will be required to frequently wash and sanitize their hands to reduce the risk of contamination and we will also be conducting temperature checks on your child at the time of check-in.

Summer Day Camps (Grades 2–7)

Please take a moment and scroll down this page to discover the two different themed camps we offer!

Furry Friends Camp

Grades 2–7

  • Come and learn compassion, responsibility, safety and care from knowledgeable experts in the animal field.
  • Learn first-hand what a typical day in our veterinary hospital looks like as we observe animal diagnoses and surgeries.
  • Go behind the scenes here at HSSC and get to know dogs, cats, rabbits and farm animals close-up.
  • Participate in educational learning games about animal behavior and body language, wildlife, farm and companion animals, conservation and how to help all animals.
  • Sharpen your observation skills as you learn how animals communicate and rely on humans to be sensitive to their needs.
  • Train a dog, comfort a bunny, feed a cat, pet a reptile and discover why animals are such an important part of our lives.
  • Our camps include walking field trips to our partner organization Forget Me Not Farm and Michelle’s Horsetime Ranch.

Due to popularity of our camps, we ask that campers limit their enrollment to one week, to allow other campers the opportunity to attend.

Furry Friends Camp Schedule (Check back later for 2021 dates!)

A Week on the Farm Camp

Grades 4–7

A Week on the Farm is a unique camp we began to offer in 2015 and are continuing to offer in 2020. Different from our other camps, the focus of this camp is on learning while working alongside farm staff to care for over 25 farm animals and 3 acres of organic vegetable, herb and flower gardens and a fruit tree orchard. Learn about large animal husbandry as you clean, groom and feed the farm animals. Get to know our 3 alpacas- Prince, Peanut and Ace, Reno our painted horse, Wilbur and Van Gough our pigs and many more friendly farm animals. Learn how healthy food is grown and prepared using sustainable agriculture practices. At our hands-on camp, you’ll spend the week planting seeds, picking berries, braiding garlic, making pickles and caring for farm animals, all while learning about the farm-to-table movement! Located at Forget Me Not Farm at the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

Due to popularity of our camps, we ask that campers limit their enrollment to one week, to allow other campers the opportunity to attend.

Farm Camp Schedule (Check back soon for 2021 dates!)

Winter Day Camps (Grades 2–6)

Please take a moment and scroll down this page to discover the two different themed camps we offer!

Furry Friends Camp

Enjoy spending part of your winter break with the Humane Society of Sonoma County and Forget Me Not Farm! Winter is a special time of year to be with our animal friends. The cool, crisp air invigorates the senses and adds a festive cheer during the holidays. Meet Reno, our brown-and-blue-eyed painted horse, our fun goats, Tickles, Ronni, and Maverick, the sweet donkeys, our fun flock of hens and the animals at the Humane Society’s adoption center look forward to meeting you! Help us care for the animals at the farm and in the adoption center, in addition to tending to our vegetable, flower and herb gardens. It’s a fun, active and hands on way to spend part of your holiday season! We look forward to seeing you! All activities are on-site at the Humane Society.

Due to popularity of our camps, we ask that campers limit their enrollment to one week, to allow other campers the opportunity to attend.

Furry Friends Winter Camp Schedule (Check back soon for updates!)

Session Date Time Grade Registration
1 TBD 9am–3pm 4th–6th TBD
1 TBD 9am–3pm 2nd–4th TBD

Camp Policies / Cancellations / Refunds

Cancellation Policy

  • 75% refund 14 days or more prior to first day of camp
  • 50% refund 7 days prior to first day of camp
  • 25% refund 4 days prior to first day of camp
  • No refunds will be issued 3 days or less prior to the first day of camp.

Parent and Child Policies

  • Registrants will be sent an email approximately 4 weeks prior to your camp week, with a link to our Parent Orientation Video to watch prior to your camp week, in addition to the Parent Packet & Forms to complete/sign and email or fax back to us no later than 2 weeks prior to their camp start date.
  • Due to the nature of our business, there will be constant exposure to animals and their allergens. Our youth education programs are not recommended for children/teens with known allergies. If your children or teen has known allergies or other health concerns, a signed release from their doctor is required.
  • Camp participants are expected to participate in all physical and academic activities. For safety, campers must be able to follow directions, be respectful to fellow campers, staff and animals.
  • Wait lists: Due to popularity, our camps fill up quickly. You are welcome to place your name on the online wait list through the camp registration page. If a registered camper cancels, you will be notified. Due to popularity of our camps, we ask that campers limit their enrollment to one week, to allow other campers the opportunity to attend.
  • Special needs: Please discuss any special needs your child may have prior to registering. Due to staffing limitations, we may not be able to accommodate individuals with special needs.
  • The Humane Society of Sonoma County is not a licensed child care provider.
  • Campers bring their own lunch. Please bring a sack lunch, food that does NOT have to be warmed up or cooked. We have a refrigerator for keeping lunches. We do not warm or cook camper’s lunches. We do not provide or prepare lunch.

Questions? Please contact Kathy Pecsar at (707) 542-0882 x 276 or kpecsar@humanesocietysoco.org.

Youth Volunteers

Raise funds on behalf of the Humane Society of Sonoma County

  1. Host a fundraising pizza and movie night or sleep over. Make some fun pizzas, grab your favorite animal movies and enjoy time with friends all while helping animals. Ask your guests to bring a donation for the Humane Society of Sonoma County as their contribution.
  2. Make donation containers and place them in classrooms at your school or local businesses your family frequents to collect donations then schedule a time with Kathy Pecsar, the Humane Educator, to present the raised monies.
  3. Have a school wide bake sale/lemonade stand to raise donations. Track the hours you spent on this project and have Kathy Pecsar, the Humane Educator, sign off on your project.
  4. Share your birthday – Birthday parties, holidays and other typical gift-giving occasions can become great fundraisers. Let your family and friends know that you’d prefer a donation to the Humane Society of Sonoma County this year rather than a gift.
  5. Clean out the closets and garage – Organize your own or a neighborhood garage or yard sale and donate the proceeds to the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
  6. Hold a recycle campaign at school; have students at school bring their recycled aluminum, glass, and plastics and redeem them for cash to donate to the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
  7. Is someone in your family a business owner (or know someone who is)? If so, they may consider donating a percentage of their daily sales to the Humane Society of Sonoma County. Let the customers know that a portion of their purchase is going to help animals in need.
  8. Collect new and gently used towels and blankets for bedding for the animals.
  9. Make a product to sell, such as thank you cards or other items to raise donations for the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
  10. Host a Food Drive for our Pet Pantry! The Humane Society of Sonoma County’s Pet Pantry provides pet food and supplies to people in our community so they can continue caring for their pets despite economic hardship. Providing basic necessities helps keep pets in their homes and out of the shelter. The Pet Pantry relies entirely on donations from the community.

Download the Pet Pantry Food Drive Toolkit to learn how to host your own food drive! We’ve also got social media images to help you promote it! Here’s an Instagram image, a Facebook image, and a Facebook Header image. Questions? Call us at (707) 542-0882 x276.

Your gift gives hope to every animal at the Humane Society of Sonoma County. When you donate, you help us provide medical care, training, rehabilitation, and adoption services for animals who need us. And that makes you a true hero! If you would like to purchase items with the funds your raised we do have an Amazon.com Wishlist where you will find items we use to care for our animals on a daily basis.

Academic Community Service

We are not currently offering services to on site youth volunteers due to CDC guidelines.

Want to help the Humane Society of Sonoma County and spend time behind the scenes learning about and caring for the animals? You can participate and be a Jr. Animal Attendant during our Volunteer Service Saturdays!

You can also earn your Academic Community Service for school by participating in this program. Or if you just want to help and volunteer, this is our youth volunteer program. We’d love to have you join us!

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to become active in your community on behalf of animals! Here are some option for you to choose from;

Junior Animal Attendant (Ages 10–18) 

You can participate our Junior Animal Attendant Program (see below). Spend a Saturday helping animals and learning about responsible pet ownership while working behind the scenes at our animal shelter. Attendants will help clean cat habitats, work at the on-site farm sanctuary and spend time socializing animals. Fulfills academic community service requirements for school.

 

Time Commitment

Academic Community Service opportunities are offered one Saturday each month for 5 hours, 9am–2pm.

Cost

$50.00 per Saturday.

Pre Registration with payment is required to hold a spot. Please submit payment with application. Space is limited. 

Other Requirements: Must be between the ages of 10–18. Space in this program is limited. Interested students should be enthusiastic, have respect for animals, and be able to follow instructions. Please wear closed-toe shoes with rubber soles, long pants, and a t-shirt. Part of the day is spent outdoors and in our barn area (rain or shine) so your clothes and shoes may get dirty. Bring a lunch. Due to the nature of our business, with constant exposure to animals and their allergens, our education programs are not recommended for children/teens with known allergies. Participants are expected to be self supporting to participate in all physical and academic activities planned and/or required by department position duties. Because of staffing restrictions we may not be able to accommodate special individual needs.

Registration for Fall and Winter dates will be opening soon. Please continue to check back and we appreciate your patience as we update our system. Questions? Please contact Kathy Pecsar at (707) 542-0882 x 276 or kpecsar@humanesocietysoco.org.

Apply to be a Junior Camp Counselor (for Junior & Senior High School students)

The Humane Society of Sonoma County generally requires volunteers to be 18 years of age or older. However, we are able to extend this opportunity and privilege of joining our team as Jr Camp Counselor in Humane Education Animal Adventure & Education Camps to mature, responsible, enthusiastic and highly committed High School students who are Junior and Senior class level, 16–18 years old. This important responsibility includes helping camp staff prepare and run our youth camps, assisting campers with activities and interaction with shelter animals, providing assistance to staff and youth campers to enhance their camp experience. The High School Volunteer Program provides many opportunities to learn more about animals, help care for animals at our shelter, meet other teens interested in companion animals and explore the field of animal welfare. The program fosters leadership, team work, animal handling and inter-personal communication skills, experience learning about child development and teaching careers. Many previous camp attendees have grown into being Jr Camp Counselors and followed careers in veterinary science, teaching, special education, animal control officer, and other professional fields. We are proud to have been part of the lives of young people during their childhood, teens and young adulthood as they follow their interests and ambitions while gaining valuable work experience through their volunteerism with the Humane Society of Sonoma County!

Requirements: 

Interested Candidates will have the enthusiasm and ability for the following skills:

  • Mature, safe, responsible, and professional comportment
  • Excellent listening and communication skills
  • Enjoy working with elementary age children and a variety of animals
  • Outgoing, interactive and social with children– children are very interactive and enjoy talking and being with teen counselors
  • Leadership skills – be comfortable being a positive role model for children
  • Team Player – be able to work as a team with fellow Jr Camp Counselors, Camp Staff, Humane Society staff and volunteers
  • Respectful and thoughtful communication with fellow volunteers, staff, animals, and general public
  • Ability to follow multiple directions and work independently
  • Initiative, ability to work without direct supervision at times
  • Time Management
  • Respects and follow directions and the Humane Society’s safety protocols and policies
  • Comfortable and willing to clean up after animals when needed
  • Generosity and enthusiasm, embracing the array of responsibilities associated with animal care and with being a contributing member of a team
  • Kindness, compassion, and patience for all people and animals.

To apply, please submit completed application with resume to Kathy Pecsar at kpecsar@humanesocietysoco.org or call (707) 542-0882 x 276 with any questions.

Variety of shifts are available depending. Sample of past camp schedules and volunteer shifts included in application for your review.

Read To A Dog

We are not currently offering Read to a Dog due to CDC guidelines.

Kids of all ages, pre-readers to high school students, have the chance to spend quality time sharing the joy of books, reading and dogs.

Benefits of Reading to a Dog

  • Dogs don’t judge, laugh or criticize
  • Dogs allow children to proceed at their own pace
  • Dogs reduce anxiety and are less intimidating than peers
  • Dogs increase interest and motivation in reading
  • Dogs help students gain confidence and self esteem
  • Dogs provide companionship and friendship while learning something new
  • Dogs can help students improve decoding, vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension skills by making reading relaxing, fun and furry!

LOCATIONS

Central Santa Rosa Library

Saturdays 11am–12pm
211 E Street, Santa Rosa
(707) 545-0831 x 538

Sebastopol Regional Library

Wednesdays 3:30–4:30pm
7140 Bodega Ave, Sebastopol
(707) 823-7691

At your School

We support elementary students in our local public schools by placing certified pet assisted therapy dog teams in classrooms to cultivate a joy of reading that improves their reading skills.

Educators interested in implementing the Read to a Dog Program in your classroom click here.

Dog owners interested in becoming a Humane Society of Sonoma County Animal Assisted Activity* volunteer for the Read to a Dog Program click here.

Dog owners interested in certifying your dog for the Read to a Dog Program click here.

*Animal Assisted Activities Dogs and their handlers must complete a (CGC) test in addition to our therapy dog screening which may include additional training and observation in the therapy setting for therapy specific behaviors. 

Youth Groups

Tours of Our Facilities

We are not currently offering tours due to CDC guidelines.

We offer Humane Education Tours to youth groups*.

Tours and educational visits are offered to schools and children/youth groups of 15 and a maximum of 30 youth with 1 adult chaperone per 5 youth. Tours include a 60–90 minutes behind the scenes look at our shelter operations, veterinary hospital, possibly a visit with a cat or dog, and a humane education lesson. Cost is $5.00 per person.

Youth tours are scheduled September through the first week in December and January through first week in May, Monday–Friday, depending on availability.

Please schedule in advance to ensure availability.

During the summer and winter break, the Humane Society of Sonoma County offers our Animal Adventure & Education Camps and Career Teen Camp for youth.

*Children must be 2nd grade or older.

Please contact Kathy Pecsar at (707) 542-0882 x 276 or kpecsar@humanesocietysoco.org to book a tour.

Youth Group Volunteer Opportunities

We are not currently offering services to on site youth volunteers due to CDC guidelines.

Are you interesting in volunteering with HSSC with your youth organization?

If you answered yes, The Humane Society of Sonoma County would love to have your group here for a youth group volunteer day! During this volunteer day, your group will spend an afternoon at the shelter and assist in our daily operations that help the shelter to run smoothly, which include cleaning the shelter animal habitats, assisting with socializing behaviorally appropriate shelter animals, and working off-site at our partner organization, Forget Me Not Farm. Youth group volunteer days are limited to 20 group members at a given time. There is no specific fee for youth group volunteer days, but we would kindly request a charitable group donation.

If you are interested in having your organization come to HSSC for a youth group volunteer day, please contact Kathy Pecsar at (707) 542-0882 x 276 or kpecsar@humanesocietysoco.org.