Humane Education Programs
The Sonoma Humane Society offers a variety of programs to educate children and teens about compassion, responsibility, respect, safety and care of animals. Each program is designed with age appropriate lessons and activities.
Summer Day Camps (Grades 2-12)
Please take a moment and scroll down this page to discover the three different themed camps we offer!
Animal Adventure and Education Camp
Our Animal Adventure and Education Camps are designed to foster respect, compassion and kindness towards all living beings. Campers will have the opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes activities at the Sonoma Humane Society, attend field trips to local animal care organizations and learn from guest speakers. Our goal is to share the world of animal care and welfare to future generations in a safe, fun and hands-on learning environment!
Grades 2–7 (Grade level based on Fall 2017 grade level)
- 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 SHS 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 you observations skills as you learn how animals communicate and rely on humans to be sensitive to their needs.
- Attend field trips where you’ll meet with marine life, reptiles, birds, wildlife and other animals native to California.
- Train a dog, comfort a bunny, feed a cat, pet a reptile and discover why animals are such an important part of our lives.
- Fun filled field trips to local animal care organizations*
Each summer, different field trips than previous years may be scheduled. Previous years field trips included: Environmental Discovery Center at Spring Lake, Bergin University of Canine Studies, Sonoma County Animal Services, Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, Petaluma Animal Services, Bodega Bay Marine Lab and other related field trips.
*Field Trips are subject to change at any time due to unforeseen reasons.
2017 Animal Adventure and Education Camp Schedule
|1||June 5–9||9AM-3PM||2nd-4th||Register Now!|
|2||June 12–16||9AM-3PM||6th & 7th||Register Now!|
|3||June 19–23||9AM-3PM||4th & 5th||Register Now!|
|4||June 26–30||9AM-3PM||2nd & 3rd||Register Now!|
|5||July 10–14||9AM-3PM||4th & 5th||Register Now!|
|8||July 31–Aug 4||9AM-3PM||4th-6th||Register Now!|
|9||Aug 7–11||9AM-3PM||3rd-5th||Register Now!|
Cost : $300 per session*
Spend a Week on a Working Farm!
“A Week on the Farm” is a newer camp we began to offer in 2015 and are excited to offer in 2017!
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 4 alpacas, Raymond the Steer, Reno our painted horse 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 Sonoma Humane Society.
*Field trips to local farms and animal sanctuaries included.
2017 Farm Camp Schedule
Grades 4–7 (Grade level based on Fall 2017 grade level)
|7||July 24–July 28||9AM-3PM||4th-7th||Register Now!|
Cost : $300 per session*
Teen Career Camp
Grades 8–12 (Grade level based on Fall 2017 grade level)
- Come and learn directly from experts working in the field of animal care what it takes to help animals in your community
- Learn first-hand what a typical day in our public veterinary and shelter medicine hospitals looks like.
- Go behind the scenes and observe our spay/neuter surgery clinics.
- Become familiar with animal welfare organizations throughout Sonoma County and around the globe. Determine what makes them effective and how you can create positive change.
- Participate in a week-long dog training clinic with the shelter dogs. Learn about animal welfare rescue management and what it takes to have a career in the animal welfare field.
- Teens will meet industry leaders and professionals in their work environments and learn what is required to work in this field.
- Career focused field trips to animal care organizations.
- Each summer, different field trips than previous years may be scheduled. Previous years included: Bergin University of Canine Studies, Sonoma County Animal Services and Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.
- Field Trips are subject to change at any time due to unforeseen reasons.
2017 Teen Career Camp Schedule
|6||July 17-21||9AM-3PM||8th-12th||Register Now!|
Cost : $300 per session*
*Camp fee includes all materials, activities, transportation and field-trip admission. Lunch will not be provided, please bring a sack lunch.
Questions? Email Beth Karzes, Humane Education Coordinator, or call her at 707.577.1902.
Winter Day Camps (Grades 2-6)
Animal Adventure and Education Camp
Enjoy spending part of your winter break with the Sonoma Humane Society 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 Raymond, our steer, as he seeks attention batting his beautiful long eyelashes. Reno, our brown-and-blue-eyed painted horse, our pony Geronimo, and many more animals look forward to meeting you! Clean, groom and feed the farm animals and enjoy being outdoors in the gardens. All activities are on-site at the Humane Society.
2017/2018 Animal Adventure and Education Winter Camp Schedule
|1||TBA||9AM-3PM||3rd - 6th||Check back!|
|2||TBA||9AM-3PM||2nd - 4th||Check back!|
Registration begins in October. Cost : $180 per session
Questions? Email Beth Karzes, Humane Education Coordinator, or call her at 707.577.1902.
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
- Parents are required to attend a mandatory orientation offered the week before camp begins where our policy and procedure forms will be signed. A parent packet will be mailed to registrants with more detailed information 3 – 4 weeks before your child’s camp week. 2017 Parent Packet for Registered Campers Only
- Due to the nature of our work, there will be regular exposure to animals and their allergens. 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.
- 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 Sonoma Humane Society 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 campers lunches. We do not provide or prepare lunch.
Click here (firstname.lastname@example.org) to contact Beth Karzes, Humane Education Coordinator or phone Beth at 707.577.1902.
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 – 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 Sonoma Humane Society offers our Animal Adventure & Education Camps and Career Teen Camp for youth.
* Children must be 2nd grade or older
To book a tour, please email Beth Karzes (email@example.com) or call 707- 577-1902.
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!
Healdsburg Center for Animals
Every 4th Saturday of the month 1 – 2pm
555 Westside Road @ Bacchus Landing Way, Healdsburg
Central Santa Rosa Library
Saturdays 11am - 12pm
211 E Street, Santa Rosa
Sebastopol Regional Library
Wednesdays 3:30 – 4:30pm
7140 Bodega Ave, Sebastopol
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 Sonoma Humane Society 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.
Academic Community Service
Want to help the Sonoma Humane Society 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 11-18)
1. 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.
Academic Community Service opportunities are offered one Saturday each month for five hours, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
$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 11-18. 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.
- April 15, 2017
- May 13, 2017
At this time there are not any opportunities during the summer. Dates are subject to change. Please call to confirm. Questions Contact Beth Karzes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Raise funds on behalf of the Sonoma Humane Society
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 Sonoma Humane Society as a 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 Beth Karzes, 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 Beth Karzes, 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 Sonoma Humane Society 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 Sonoma Humane Society.
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 Sonoma Humane Society.
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 Sonoma Humane Society. 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 Sonoma Humane Society.
Your gift gives hope to every animal at the Sonoma Humane Society. 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.
Jr Camp Counselors ( for Junior & Senior High School students)
The Sonoma Humane Society 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 Sonoma Humane Society!
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
- The ability to follow multiple directions and work independently
- Take initiative, work without direct supervision at time
- 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.
Variety of shifts are available depending. Sample of past camp schedules and volunteer shifts included in application for your review.
“This is the best camp in Sonoma County! We will be back!”
(Jennifer works for the Windsor Unified School District and shares her praise of the SHS humane education dept with other families whenever possible. Her daughter attended Sonoma Humane Society's Camps 2 seasons.)
Beth Karzes is a CA state credentialed school teacher with over seventeen years of experience teaching kindergarten through high school age students. Encouraging the bonds between animals and children, Beth cultivates future generations of compassionate animal caregivers through in-depth humane education programs. Through the Sonoma Humane Society Beth has created and delivered a variety of humane education programs offered to families, schools, students, children, teens and the community. She also mentors middle and high school teens in our mentoring program, teaching animal welfare practices that translate into valuable career skills. Since 2005 Beth has been a member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, APHE and an APHE Board Member since 2008. APHE is a professional membership organization with members from around the globe. Beth shares her life with her family that also includes 3 rescued dogs and spends as much of her free time outdoors hiking, kayaking, beach going, white water river rafting and enjoying the beauty of nature, wildlife, conservation, sustainable organic agriculture, the arts, good food and good company.