Wildlife Humane Education

Just for Kids
Educator and Parent Resources
Local Field Trips
Articles, Books, and Videos

Just for Kids

The ASPCA has a website just for kids, which includes a section entitled "Real Issues."  These pages show kids how they can make a difference for wildlife, and include information on endangered species and why wildlife shouldn't be kept as pets.

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  Their kids website offers Cool Stuff (coloring pages), Wild Games (concentration, puzzles, word search), Web of Life (story), and Defend It! (advocacy page.)

E-nature is a privately-held website that provides marketing services to both non-profit and private sector clients, focusing primarily on wildlife and nature. The wildlife information on this site is the same data used to create the printed Audubon Field Guides. This site offers quizzes on many different species and their habitats, including Do You Know Scat?, The Mating Game, Winter Wildlife Quiz, The Name Game, The Bald Facts, Fur Factor, and Botanical Burgs.

National Geographic Magazine has a section just for kids with free wildlife coloring pages, crafts, recipes, puzzles, games, and ideas for other fun activities.

For 50 years, the World Wildlife Fund has been protecting the future of nature.  The world’s leading conservation organization, WWF combines global reach with a foundation in science, and involves action at every level from local to global.  They have a fun "Find Your Inner Animal" quiz on their website, which tells which wild neighbor your personality is most like.

The Humane Society of the United States publishes a magazine for K-6 students, entitled "Kind News."  Articles address wildlife protection as well as companion animal welfare, and many are available for free on their website.

 Educator and Parent Resources

smpaw_blueThe Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) offers lesson plans for grades K-2 and 3-5 which focus on protecting and respecting wildlife.  Included with the lesson is a teacher introduction and related handouts.

Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Teacher Resource Center offers a wide selection of services to help you incorporate environmental education into your classroom.  These include curriculum guides, field guides, children's story books, and text books on environmental topics which are available to borrow free of charge.  A variety of "Prop Boxes" are available for teachers to borrow as well.  Each box was developed by naturalists trained in education and includes materials that enable teachers to extend their own curriculum.

Cornell's Lab of Ornithology offers a kit entitled Celebrate Urban Birds! With this kit, students can learn about city birds, watch birds for science, get involved in projects to "green" up their community, and increase conservation awareness.  All materials are free (including bilingual posters and sunflower seeds) and give individuals, families, and groups all the tools needed to watch birds and collect data in cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  Their kids website offers Teacher’s Table (wolf, sea otter and bear curriculum, and wildlife bibliography).

Everything Animals Resource Center, Inc is a humane education and animal welfare organization that focuses on the importance of respect, kindness, tolerance, compassion and personal responsibility towards animals. They offer K-6 teaching guides and two teaching kits: The Unhuggables and Enjoying Animals Safely.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) offers a wide variety of free thematic education packs including teaching guides, lessons, worksheets, videos, and interactive activities aligned with core curricula in more than 16 countries and seven languages, as well as Braille.

You can schedule a school program through New England Wildlife Center, located in South Weymouth, Massachusetts.  Programs include "Sevens" for grades 4 and 5, and "As Clear As Mud" for middle-school grades.  The philosophy of their programs is that environmental literacy and preservation are best achieved by helping citizens to understand and "know" their natural world, which exists in their own schoolyards, parks, nature reserves and watersheds.

Share the World is a free educational program designed to help your students better understand and appreciate the animals with whom we share our world. Their site offers reproducible activities that will help your grades 3-5 students use their thinking and writing skills to imagine the feelings and consider the incredible abilities of other animals, examine how our relationships with them have changed through history, discover alternatives to their use, and respond to situations in which their well-being is threatened.

Teaching Creatures' programs are designed to introduce children to the diversity of the animal kingdom and to help them make meaningful connections with the natural world. Though programs are aimed at young people, they can easily be adapted for adult audiences. All programs are offered 7 days a week, and provides a hands-on experience. Along with the animals, the audience gets the chance to touch real and replica skins, skulls, and other biofacts.

Teachkind.org is the education program of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This website offers free humane education materials and policy resources for K-12 and college educators. Their Free Curriculm Kit: Share the World - Everyone Matters (Ages 7-10) is designed to help your students better understand and appreciate the animals with whom we share our world.

Wildlife Conservation Society’s Teacher Professional Development programs will show educators how to discover the richness of local resources by creating a partnership with an informal science

The American Humane Association is a network of individuals and organizations, which works towards both preventing cruelty, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children and animals, and assuring that their interests and well-being are fully, effectively, and humanely guaranteed by an aware and caring society. Their website offers a free program for grades 3-5 that reinforces pro-social behaviors through a series of engaging and skill-building classroom activities centered on the humane treatment of animals.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a national and global animal protection organization that celebrates animals and confronts cruelty.  Their resources for parents and educators help nurture the bond children have with animals by instilling empathy and a humane ethic at every stage in their development.  They offer humane-themed lesson plans and worksheets, opportunities for training and professional development for teachers and humane educators, an award-winning service-learning program, a classroom magazine for K-6 students, and more.

The Institute for Humane Education (IHE) is an educational organization dedicated to creating a humane world through humane education. Their web pages offer a comprehensive catagorized listing of useful links, books and other resources relevant to humane issues, samples of student work, and listings of humane education-related internships.

The National Humane Education Society (NHES) provides humane education, rescue and relief assistance for animals, and screened adoption services. Their Guide to Humane Living & Learning will help local humane societies, teachers and individuals teach kindness to animals through interesting curriculum that promotes critical thinking as well as responsible decision-making.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Inc rescues, rehabilitates, and releases orphaned, injured, and displaced wildlife, and provides sanctuary with dignity for non-releasable animals, both native and non-native.  They offer a variety of teaching materials, including their Going to the Zoo? activity, the Wildlife are Wonderful but They are Not Pets! kids' poster, and a teachers’ instruction booklet that helps teachers use the poster in writing, drawing, drama and research activities.

EcoHealth Alliance (formerly Wildlife Trust) is an international organization of scientists dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity. The Wild Ones is their children’s education program that includes curriculum ideas and resources for your classroom, school yard, and fieldtrips. Spanish and English.

 Local Field Trips

Audubon Society of New England maintains over 9,500 acres of natural habitat all over the State of Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts.  Most of these refuges are open to the public and have groomed trails for hiking and nature study.  Throughout the year, the experienced naturalists who staff the center host educational and fun programs for birders, beginners, families, and anyone who wants to learn more about the natural world.  Programs include tours, nature trails, and on-site birthday parties.

The 200 acre Birdsacre Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary, in Ellsworth, Maine, is a charitable, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the home and vision of pioneer, ornithologist-photographer Cordella J. Stanwood, as a living memorial to her achievements in Ornithology and life.

Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, in Mattapan, MA is an inner-city sanctuary situated on a portion of the former Boston State Hospital property. More than two miles of scenic trails and boardwalks take visitors through wetlands, woods, and open fields where state hospital buildings once stood. Wildlife abounds at the sanctuary, with hawks, wild turkey, and pheasants, to name a few of the many natural wonders you'll see here. On site, the Clark-Cooper Community Gardens, Boston's largest community gardens, provide food and a green oasis for hundreds of Boston residents.

Claire Birtz Wildlife Sanctuary in Southbridge, MA and Woodstock, CT, is 116 acres of New England countryside, consisting of upland hardwood forest, a red maple swamp, vernal pools, and perhaps its most striking feature, forty acre Morse Pond with its associated five acre freshwater marsh. Tucked away on the west side of Route 169, it is a green jewel that will forever provide beautiful views of the pond and hillside from this Designated Scenic Byway.

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT, is a non-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling its mission: to inspire and nurture appreciation of the natural world and foster a personal environmental ethic. They are a comination wildife sanctuary, visitor attraction and educational facility. Through natural history exhibits, educational classes and outreach programs, they seek to educate visitors of all ages about the unique interrelationships of animals, plants and non-renewable resources.

EcoTarium, in Worcester, MA, is an organization dedicated to the study of science and nature. The private, non-profit institution was founded in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1884 as the Worcester Natural History Society, which refocused the museum on its roots in the natural sciences with a focus on hands-on exploration and discovery.  The name change accompanied a major capital development program that has transformed the building and grounds into an accessible learning and discovery center for families.

In Portland CT, paths and boardwalks lead into and around the Helen Carlson Wildlife Sanctuary and Cranberry Bog. The property was a commercial cranberry bog until 1950. In 1966, Helen Carlson purchased it to prevent it being developed. Ten years later she gave it to the Mattabeseck Audubon Society with the understanding that it would remain a sanctuary for wildlife.  

Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport, MA, is located at the gateway to one of the country’s most productive, year-round, wildlife viewing areas—the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Plum Island estuary.  During local area field trips, Joppa Flats program participants have recorded over 300 species of birds including the bald eagle, snowy owl, many warblers, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The new visitor center overlooking the Merrimack River includes second-floor observation areas—one indoors and one outdoors—a conference center, a guest services area, and interpretive displays.

The goal at New England Discovery, in Newburyport, MA, is to increase awareness and appreciation of wildlife and the natural world by helping people become more familiar with the wild animals that live around us, and how these animals interact with and depend on their environment. They offer guided walks, nature programs, and trips focusing on wildlife observation, animal tracking and behavior, and habitat exploration in Topsfield, Newburyport, Northfield, and Greenville, ME.

New England Wildlife Center in South Weymouth, MA, is an informal hands-on science education organization that uses the activities of veterinary medical care and rehabilitation of wildlife like raccoons, reptiles, and birds of prey, and the veterinary care of exotic pets like snakes, lizards, and turtles as a vehicle for learning by elementary, middle school, high school and undergraduate students.  They offer guided and self-guided tours of the facilities, nature trails, a pre-school playgroup, and on-site birthday parties.

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is located approximately 32 miles northeast of Boston on Plum Island, MA. Plum Island is a natural barrier island stretching along the Massachusetts Atlantic coast between the mouth of the Merrimack River to the north and the mouth of the Ipswich River to the south.  Several miles of foot trails meander through dune, shrub/thicket, freshwater marsh, and other Refuge habitats. Observation towers and platforms afford commanding views of the Refuge and surrounding lands.

Tracker-Naturalist David Brown offers a variety of interpretive programs to the public. These are organized in two ways: sponsored programs are hosted by organizations at their location. These groups include conservation agencies, land trusts, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries, adult education centers and nature clubs. Quabbin Trails programs are arranged by David Brown, himself, and are usually conducted at Quabbin Reservation in central Massachusetts.

Walnut Hill Tracking & Nature Center, in Orange, MA,offers slide shows, private field trips, school programs, wildlife inventories and habitat assessments. Programs offered include, ancient tool making, birding, photography, sand tracking, tracking camping, and more.

Articles, Books, and Videos

Wilkinson, Barbara, (n.d.) "Wildlife Education and Attitudes Towards Animals", California State University

Animals Among Us: Living with Suburban Wildlife by Fran Hodgkins

Our World in Danger (World Wildlife Fund) by Gillian Dorfman, Tony Morris, and Chris Reed

The Salamander Room by Ann Mazer

Firefly Animal Rescue (series) by various authors

Kids' Easy-to-Create Wildlife Habitats: For Small Spaces in City-Suburbs-Countryside by Emily Stetson and J. Susan Cole Stone

Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals by Steve Jenkins

Wildlife Heroes: 40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals They Are Committed to Saving by Julie Scardina and Jeff Flocken

"National Geographic: The Wildlife Collection" (2006)

"Wildlife Specials" starring David Attenborough (2008)

"Explore the Wildlife Kingdom" starring Grant Goodeve (2006)

"Earth From Above - Food and Wildlife Conservation" (2012)

"National Geographic's Wildlife Warriors" (1997)

"Ultimate Wildlife" series (2011)