Palo Alto Humane Society partnered with San Mateo Search and Rescue, Inc. in Burlingame and Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward to offer a mini-Critter Club to children and their parents at an educational event hosted by the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund – SV2 at the Sobrato Center in Redwood City on Saturday, February 11. The theme for the mini-club was “Animals in Our Community.”
The program began with a brief introduction by Carole Hyde, the PAHS Executive Director, focusing on building partnerships and the passage of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 144, the legislative resolution that underscores the importance of humane education in bolstering character education and civic responsibility. Carole was followed by Leonor Delgado, the PAHS Education Manager, who provided a short description of PAHS’ educational offerings. She spoke about the theme of the day’s “club meeting,” emphasizing that everyone was going to learn about animals who help us as well as ways in which we can help the animals around us.
Steve Garcia and his service dog Rubi represented the volunteer organization San Mateo Search and Rescue servicing the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department. Steve showed all the participants how Rubi was trained to participate in search and rescue operations, described how Rubi is also a valued and very much loved member of his family, explained how he takes care of Rubi, and instructed the audience on best practices in meeting a new dog. Everyone was thrilled to have the chance to pet Rubi and interact with her.
Deb Varner, from Sulphur Creek Nature Center, spoke about the ways in which wildlife rescue sanctuaries such as Sulphur Creek help injured animals, often rehabilitating them so that they can be returned to the wild. She brought along two special guests—Tiberius, a resident screech owl (shown on the left) and Misty, a resident tame rat. Tiberius had been injured to the extent that he could not be released into the wild. The audience learned about screech owls’ life in the wild (their diet, camouflage capabilities) and observed Tiberius at a close, yet safe, distance. Misty, who is a regular visitor to educational events and often is “on loan” for short stays at private homes, had the chance to meet and greet the audience.
Just as in a regular Critter Club session, students had the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the visiting animals. All young attendees received a Critter Club certificate at the end of the program.
PAHS thanks Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund – SV2 for hosting our informative event and Steve and Deb and their respective organizations for contributing to its success.