Mockingbird Farm Animal Sanctuary Youth Program: Making the Connection
Mockingbird Farm Animal Sanctuary provides forever homes to farmed animals who have been neglected, abused or fated for slaughter. Its historic Byron, New York, farm is a peaceful and curative place where animals simply live their lives on their own terms, walk through serene pastures, and experience an atmosphere of true compassion. Mockingbird is home to a darling crew of sentient beings who will forever know what unconditional love feels like.
In May 2023 Mockingbird hosted its first youth tour, welcoming 80 students and chaperones from the Hilton Central School District in suburban Rochester, New York. The students, ages 13-14, met the Mockingbird animal residents face-to-face in a supervised environment and listened attentively as Mockingbird’s volunteers shared the animals’ moving stories. A number of the students had never encountered farmed animals before, but all approached the sanctuary residents with gentleness, respect, and delight. The student visitors also participated in activities that supported the farm, including creating enrichment vegetable garlands for Mockingbird’s chickens and ducks to eat; planting flowers in window boxes to be placed on the chicken coops and duck shack; decorating birdhouses, and painting memorial garden stones to commemorate Mockingbird residents who have passed away in sanctuary. The students took away a new impression of the peaceful beauty of animals in sanctuary and left behind a bit of themselves in the art they created.
Delighted by the meaningful success of this pilot tour, Mockingbird will build upon this foundation by formalizing its youth program, Making the Connection. Mockingbird will welcome young people from schools and youth groups to tour the sanctuary, meet the beloved animal residents, and participate in fun and enriching activities that support the farm. Mockingbird plans to conduct 3 to 5 youth tours per year.
Funded by Vegan (September 2023)