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Wildlife Classroom to the World
Over the past seven years PAWS has developed a master plan to incorporate service learning and environmental conservation into its current captive wildlife sanctuary. The first phase of the master plan, The Visitor’s Center, will include an art gallery, gift shop, and “Wildlife Classroom to the World” education building. At the visitor’s center guests will learn about the important captive wildlife and environmental conservation issues that are an important adjunct to the sanctuary project and PAWS mission and vision for the future.
The architecture at the Visitor’s Center is designed and organized to blend with the surrounding farms, homesteads and small towns. Buildings will be constructed of logs, tin siding and local building materials simulating the scale and form of the gold rush era and the architecture of the old towns. Three buildings replicating a small settlement will be the focal point of the Visitor’s Center.
Studio classrooms will be constructed with remote controlled web cams and monitors. A control room with satellite communications equipment will be installed. The Education Center will have equipment for recording animal activities throughout the ARK 2000 sanctuary. Outdoor web cams will be installed at appropriate locations in the animal enclosures and barns and connected to the Education Center’s monitors for visitor viewing and satellite broadcasting. At certain times and locations, visitors will be able to watch monitors and interactively speak directly with PAWS animal keepers as they bathe, feed and care for the animals. The sanctuary is currently electronically connected to the PAWS computer Internet website as real-time “animal-cams”. Anyone accessing the PAWS website can observe the on-going activities of the animals at the Sanctuary.
Programs related to animal care and welfare will be produced in the studio classrooms and will be broadcast live or recorded for later viewing. Programs will include world-recognized experts discussing animal related issues, local habitat education, and water conservation. Visitors are welcome to attend any of the studio classroom presentations. On-going pre-recorded video programs featuring animals and their habitat will be played continuously on monitors for visitor’s viewing.
PAWS currently offers a service learning program for the OneSong Program of Caring Strokes. This course was developed for at-risk youth consisting of foster children, wards of the state and children, who at no fault of their own, have found themselves in crippling environments and situations due to violence, drug abuse and the dangerous lure of gang related activity. OneSong Program teaches young people how to develop empathy and compassion for animals and others as an alternative to violence. This is accomplished by in-classroom music, art, creative writing and discussion and an outside the classroom, once in a lifetime, journey to the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary.
At the PAWS ARK 2000 sanctuary, the children learn about loyalty, trust, respect and family values from the elephants. Most importantly, by visiting the PAWS sanctuary, children learn that each individual has the power to make a positive difference for other creatures and they begin to understand the importance of creating awareness and understanding for wildlife that share our planet.
The experience benefits the children by boosting their self-esteem, their personal confidence and shows them a more productive and kinder lifestyle. It benefits the animals by educating our young people of the reality of captive wildlife and opens their minds to the concept of wildlife conservation and environmental preservation. These are key topics that children need to understand in order to make their own world a more positive place to live, grow and become positive contributors to our society.
Letter from OneSong Vice President:
To Whom It May Concern:
The OneSong Program is based on the undeniable link between animal cruelty & human violence in our society. In 1997, Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin and sociologist Arnold Arluke finished a three-year study that compared 153 Massachusetts animal abusers to neighbors of similar age and gender and concluded that those who commit violence against animals are five times as likely to commit violence against humans. Many serial killers began their careers by torturing or murdering animals. Ted Bundy, executed in 1989 for 50 murders, spent much of his youth torturing animals. The Boston Strangler, Albert DiSalvo, who killed 13 women in the early 1960s, spent his youth trapping dogs and cats in orange crates and shooting arrows into them. And the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer tortured animals before he turned to young men.
Healing with Animals & the Arts:
Working with Pat and Ed has truly been a life-changing experience for the children who have had the good fortune to visit the sanctuary. At the sanctuary, the children learn about loyalty, trust, respect and family values from the elephants. Most importantly, by visiting the PAWS sanctuary, the children learn that each individual has the power to make a positive difference for other creatures and they begin to understand the importance of creating awareness and understanding for wildlife that share our planet. Additionally, they learn to investigate and question how animals are used in entertainment, including circuses, rodeos, and television. They are taught that these activities might be fun for some people, but they are definitely not fun for the animals. Finally, the trip to the sanctuary solidifies for the children, the importance of promoting an ethics of gentleness for other living creatures.
By visiting with Pat and Ed and witnessing their unwavering demonstration of kindness, patience and unconditional love towards the residence of the sanctuary, the children learn new ways of thinking about their own world and ultimately they learn how to think about themselves more compassionately.
The experience benefits the children by boosting their self-esteem and personal confidence and by showing them a more productive and kinder lifestyle. It benefits the animals by educating our young people of the reality of captive wildlife and opens their minds to the concept of wildlife conservation and environmental preservation. These are key topics that children need to understand in order to make their own world a more positive place in which to live, grow and to become positive contributors to our society.
The measurable outcomes of the OneSong Program on the communities it serves are indisputably noticeable - they are as follows: Increased display of true empathy towards animals and themselves; appreciation and awareness for animals and their needs; increased desire to share their new-found perspective of empathy and compassion with their friends; decreased interest in gang related activity and violence; increased self-esteem and confidence, new sense of purpose that manifests in better school grades and calmer behavior.
We have achieved remarkable results with the children who have participated in the OneSong Program — especially with the children who have visited ARK 2000. After the “elephant experience” one child told us that he felt that the elephants represent or symbolize him. He saw the elephant as majestic and powerful and was able to relate those positive attributes to humans who unlock their potential – and he was able to relate those positive attributes to himself. Another told us he learned that “animals have best friends;” still another mentioned that “animals are just like humans – they need respect too;” and finally, one child told us that she “…learned that animals were not’t ‘things,’ but that they were living beings with feelings and families.”
The work that Pat, Ed and their PAWS team does with the animals is a true gift and it is having not only a local, but global impact on our planet. They are 2 of the most incredible people we, here at the OneSong Program, have ever met. Their days are long, exhausting and often times heartbreaking, yet they continue to embrace each and every opportunity to assist all animals — human and otherwise — and to educate, inspire and to show those willing to learn, how to interact, in a non-violent, non-dominant manner with one another.
It is an honor to be associated with them and we always look forward to our next visit to the sanctuary with the children — as with each visit we learn something new and wonderful about animals and about ourselves.
I can be reached at 818-566-6599, or you can email me at Susan@McCourtProductions.com.
(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
PAWS. All rights reserved. Copyright for photos belongs solely to Janice Clark.
Images may not be copied, downloaded, or used in any way without the expressed, written permission of the photographer.
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