MCMS, HSMC partner for Animal Club
By Stephanie Johns
Morgan County Middle School has partnered with the Humane Society of Morgan County to offer an Animal Club as a service club option. The goal of the monthly club: to offer a fun-filled animal learning experience.
MCMS Special Education Teacher Beth Dennard serves as club sponsor to the approximately 30 student members. She shared her reaction when she heard about the club.
“I have a bachelor’s in animal dairy science and live on a small farm so I was very excited,” she shared. “I would have loved to have had the opportunity to participate in a club like this when I was in school.”
During the club’s first meeting the Humane Society took dogs to the school and spoke about animal control and humane societies.
The second meeting featured horses. Celia Horvath and her mother Kim Rains took their horses and spoke about horse massage, general care, breeds, and colors.
Dennard had a saddling station for the students to put a saddle on a barrel and take a seat.
Belinda Bell, Director of the Humane Society of Morgan County, shared her thoughts about that club meeting.
“It was an amazing day,” she shared. “It’s exciting to have this opportunity to interact with the children!”
When she heard about the club, Bell said those at the society were excited.
“We’re glad to do anything we could,” she said. “We think this is a really unique opportunity to teach students about animal welfare issues and get kids involved with animals in the community.”
She added that the club presents career options beyond being a veterinarian.
Bell said the school approached the society last year about an after school program and that following a meeting this year with the school counselor, Sam Cutler, they put together a program that changes a bit each month.
“It depends on the time of year and the animals available,” she said, adding that the two programs so far – canines and equines – have both been big hits. “Students were equally as excited.”
She noted that students chose to sign up for the elective course and that student safety remains their top priority.
Dennard shared that students directly interact if they want to do so.
She added that Merritt Ainslee, Mary Lou Garner, Lee Shepard, Elizabeth Little, Ashley Stancill, and Marie Webb all help with the club, too.
The club hopes to host cattle, canine search and rescue, goats, and rehabilitated wildlife at future meetings.
Printed in the December 6, 2012 edition