Friday, August 31, 2012

HAWS Summer Kids 'N Critters Camp ended at the end of last week.  The building is certainly much quieter for the first time in 11 weeks.

The feedback from the parents and kids overall was extremely positive.  I've heard so many parents tell me what a great time their kids had -- even that out of all the activities the kids did over the summer, coming to HAWS was their favorite.  A lot of the kids are already planning on attending our camps next year. 

I went through some of the many (literally thousands) of photographs that my staff and I took throughout the summer to document what the kids did while they were here.  One of the things that struck me is how many different types of animals the kids were able to meet and learn about during their camp sessions. 

HAWS is a little unique in animal sheltering in that we will accept just about any kind of animal.  Many shelters handle only dogs and cats because they aren't set up to be able to accomodate the needs of other types of animals such as rabbits, pocket pets, birds and reptiles. 

While it's unfortunate that there is a great need for a place for all types of animals to go when their owners can no longer or aren't willing to care for them any more, the fact that HAWS does take in all different types allows us to use them as a learning opportunity in our education programs. 

Many times this means that we have to educate ourselves before we can pass this knowledge on to the kids.  Over the years I've learned about a lot of different species, but the Red Tail Boa we accepted a few weeks ago was a new one on me.  This one is only about 4 feet long, but full grown can end up to be about 10 feet long, and will weigh about 50lbs. 

Additionally the kids learn that all animals are not the same.  Different species need different care, require different habitats, display different behaviors, and require different handling.  Our campers learn about all these differences and get to see some of them first hand here at HAWS when they interact with the animals. 

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