What Is Humane Education?


“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”


At its most basic level, humane education is teaching empathy for all animals who share our world – both in our homes and in our communities. It is about fostering a sense of respect, responsibility and kindness – for animals and people alike! Its fundamental purpose is to PREVENT animal cruelty and make the world a better place for all living creatures.

Humane education involves far more than the teaching of a simple animal-related curriculum. It is a process through which we:

  • assist children in developing compassion, a sense of justice, and a respect for the value of all living creatures.
  • provide the knowledge and understanding necessary for children to behave according to these principles.
  • foster a sense of responsibility on the part of children to affirm and act upon their personal beliefs.

Humane Educator Volunteer Opportunity

Do you enjoy interacting with children and care about the welfare of animals? Do you feel compelled to help PREVENT animal abuse and neglect? Volunteer as an HSMO Humane Educator!  The Humane Society of Missouri’s education department is able to offer a wide variety of programs for all ages to approx. 20,000 people each year because of the support we’re given by volunteer humane educators specially-trained here at our facility. We recruit and train individuals who have an interest in teaching the messages of humane education and can do so effectively. These volunteers complete a training session, observe three humane education programs taught by veteran humane educators and co-teach three humane education programs with fellow humane educators before they are able to teach alone. Humane educators also attend bi-monthly meetings held at the Humane Society of Missouri, participate in continuing education opportunities and attend guest lectures to expand their knowledge and remain up-to-date on current issues affecting animals.


Humane Society Create-a-Class Program

We offer on-site, custom-designed, interactive and developmentally-appropriate humane education presentations and experiences to meet the needs and learning objectives of our visitors. We offer these programs at our main headquarters location at 1201 Macklind Avenue. Each program includes a behind-the-scenes tour of our shelter and veterinary medical center, animal interactions and even surgery observation (on weekday mornings). Visitors of all ages have the opportunity to read to the shelter animals and receive a colorful animal folder with take-home activities and resources.

Current Link to Submit a program request: Survey - Education Field Trip Registration - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Humane Society Community Outreach

If you can’t visit us at the Humane Society, we can come to you and we bring a Shelter Dog Ambassador too! Our community outreach efforts include:

  • Engaging Presentations (schools, youth groups, adult groups, etc.)
  • Interactive info-booths at community events
  • After-school programs

Humane IQ

This education coalition pairs the Humane Society of Missouri with local school districts including the St. Louis City Public Schools for a unique education experience. The purpose is to share the work of the Humane Society with students and to help them gain insight into the valuable relationship that people and animals can share. Students are taught the practical aspect of pet ownership as well as safety with animals and appreciation for animals in the wild. Currently the program has two parts. The fifth or sixth grade classes will participate in a humane education here at our shelter. They are then sent back to school with a service learning project...to organize and facilitate a towel and stuffed animal drive at their school. Part two consists of a team of our specially-trained volunteers visiting the schools the following week after they are here, at which time they will collect the donations for the animals and will provide an assembly style humane education program, reaching the entire school. The fifth or sixth graders play an active role in the assembly. All curriculum has been designed to meet the Missouri Learning Standards.

(Grant-funded) Link teachers currently use to register: Survey - Education Humane IQ Program Request - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Kids for Critters Camps

Our annual summer camps offer children a week-long adventure in the world of animals. The classes are designed to teach important animal-related issues in a fun, camp-like setting. Children will learn vital issues like the importance of spaying and neutering to help curb the pet overpopulation problem and the interdependence of animals and the environment, the role animals play in therapy and the plight of endangered animals. Children also explore careers working with animals and observe surgical procedures in the Humane Society of Missouri’s veterinary medical center. In addition to the animal related activities, Kids for Critters is packed with crafts, games, stories, guest speakers and activities that demonstrate how we must learn to share our planet with all living creatures. The highlight each week is a “field trip” to our Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO. There, students will be introduced to the care of horses, cattle, ducks, goats and a variety of farm animals.

Link we currently use for NEW Camp Counselor Application: Survey - 2023 Summer Camp Counselor Volunteer Application - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Link we currently use for RETURNING Camp Counselor Application: Survey - 2023 Summer Camp Counselor Application (Returning) - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Boy Scout and Girl Scout Programs

These workshops offer Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts the opportunity to complete requirements needed to earn their animal-related badges. These programs provide youth a forum to explore animal issues in a more in-depth manner and encourages them to act on behalf of animals.

Boy Scouts
We offer Dog Care & Pets Merit Badge Workshops taught by certified merit badge counselors who can evaluate your completed requirements and sign your merit badge cards.

Girl Scouts
We can help you complete requirements needed to earn the following badges:

  • Daisies: Animal Observer Badge (K-1)
  • Brownies: Pets Badge (2-3)
  • Juniors: Animal Habitats Badge (4-5)
  • Cadettes: Animal Helpers Badge (6-8)
  • Seniors: Voice for Animals Badge
  • Assistance with Gold, Silver and Bronze Award Projects.

Current link to request program:Survey - Education Field Trip Registration - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Club H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Pets and Environment)

The Humane Society of Missouri offers elementary school students a unique opportunity to join a fun, animal-focused, after-school club based on service learning activities and projects. Schools sign up to host the club and we provide the activities. Our goal is to build partnerships with local schools, nurture empathy and inspire action on behalf of animals. This program was built upon the nationally recognized character education program called Character Counts. Link for schools who would like to sign up for Club HOPE: Survey - Club Hope Questionnaire - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Shelter Buddies Reading Program

The Shelter Buddies Reading Program is a mutually beneficial experience designed to help shy, anxious dogs feel more comfortable in the shelter environment by having children read to them. We want to encourage dogs to approach the front of the kennel when visitors and potential adopters are present. Dogs who approach the kennel-front get adopted more quickly, thus reducing the average length of stay.

For our young volunteers, the Shelter Buddies Reading Program helps foster compassion and empathy, while providing a supportive environment in which to develop their reading skills. In addition, the program provides children with the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of homeless animals.

Tales to Tails Program (Partnership with Ready Readers)

Ready Readers has teamed up with the Humane Society of Missouri to offer their pre-K students a special opportunity to visit the animals at their shelter. We have so many fun activities planned: visiting and reading to the shelter animals, adopting a “stuffed animal” to take home, learning how to pet animals safely, taking our “stuffed animals” to see the shelter vet and playing veterinarian. (Grant-funded)

Link to form teachers currently use to sign up. Survey - Ready Reader Class Registration - Humane Society of Missouri - http://www.hsmo.org

Ranch Education Program (taught by Ranch staff and volunteers)

An age-appropriate, comprehensive education program highlighting the unique work of our Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, MO is available for students and scout groups. The program stresses the humane treatment of farm and ranch animals. On‑site tours and demonstrations are part of this interactive program.

Pawrties with a Purrpose


The following programs are fee-based and parents register their children via our Bookeo online registration software. Humane Society of Missouri - Booking (bookeo.com)

  • Shelter Buddies Reading Program
  • Kids for Critters Camps
  • Club HOPE Registration
  • Boy Scout Merit Badge Workshops
  • Special Events: Deck the Howls, etc.