Written by Janice Neumann.
The Kuerner brothers, John, 4, and Will, 6, had fun last summer gathering branches and leaves for bird nests, touching real bird feathers and gathering nuts and berries for wildlife — all as part of a Backyard Buddies program at PAWS in Seattle.
But the experience wasn’t just fun, it was also meant to teach the kids about respecting animals and treating them humanely.
While shelters have offered children and teens general humane education for about 50 years, in the past few decades, more programs like PAWS’ have been popping up, teaching children or teens through special summer events, camps or volunteering. Many parents and shelter staff say the programs help nurture a better sense of responsibility and compassion for animals.
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