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Conference Schedule & Presentations:

Wednesday, April 19

Pre-Conference Workshop:

Get Off the Struggle Bus: Work Smarter, Not Harder  

12:30 - 2:00 P.M.

Do you often wish you could find a little bit of extra time? Do you miss creating new lessons, brainstorming inventive strategies, and scoping out different programs? We get it! Time is a limited resource and sometimes earns you a one-way ticket riding the struggle bus. Don’t worry- your stop has arrived!

Join the team that created the first humane education Maddie's Fund Apprenticeship in this fast-paced workshop designed for participants of all levels of experience. Through facilitated discussions with peers, topics such as new engagement strategies, pricing, programs, and technology will be covered. That’s right! We will cover it all, but here is the best part, participants will also walk away with an all-new compassion curriculum that can be incorporated into any program.

Presenters: De Daltorio, Heather Grogan, and Kylie Wiest - Charleston Animal Society

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Networking Mixer

3:00 - 5:00 P.M.

Join your APHE Board Members for a networking happy hour to unwind and socialize!  Hosted at our event location (Lumber Exchange Event Center), this mixer will be a casual space to meet other members, reconnect with old friends, and build lasting connections with fellow humane educators.   There will be games, door prizes, and more, designed to engage attendees but also keep you within your comfort zone.  Don’t miss this opportunity to vibe with your hive in this kickstarter event!  Light appetizers and drinks will be provided.  

Hosted by APHE Board of Directors

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Thursday, April 20 8:30-3:30 

 (A light breakfast will be provided free of charge at the conference venue beginning at 7:30am.)

Keynote Speaker: Emilie Buchwald

The Role of Picture Books in Humane Education

The stories we live with and accept play a role in forming our worldview. Children routinely encounter a steady stream of visual media about animals that is factually or emotionally inaccurate. In some instances, Disneyfied images of animals are intended to serve as stand-ins for human children, or animals are depicted in idealized settings that fail to reflect the realities they face. 

 However, picture books that foster the vision of a kinder and more just world challenge dominant narratives, with the intent of instilling empathy for animals, people, and the environment. Humane-themed picture books can give children realistic representations of animals and the challenges they face in the world. Humane-themed picture books can portray the joy that can be found when humans and animals respect each other’s uniqueness as individuals, and humane-themed picture books can help children connect with themselves and others through a lens of compassion and inclusiveness. 

Time 8:52-9:10 AM (Sawyers)

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Think Again: Humane Education for Adults

Have you included adults in your humane education program? We will discuss important considerations for designing adult-focused programs. Having solutions focused content that informs, inspires, and empowers people to act for animals is crucial to successful learning outcomes. What's more, encouraging students to "think outside the box" and rethink old assumptions and systems will ultimately enhance the educational experience. In this presentation, we will demonstrate various methods for presenting content and engaging students, as well as showcase current programming for adults who are interested in professional development opportunities.

Time 9:10-10:10 AM (Sawyers)

Presenters: Cathie Myers & Caitlin Gill, Best Friends Animal Society

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Sharing the Stories of Rescued Animals with Care Experienced Children to Foster Compassion and Help Reverse the Cycle of Abuse 

Fostering Compassion addresses the links between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse (The Link) and works to reverse the cycle of abuse often existing in these circumstances. We work with children who may be showing worrying behaviour towards animals, lacking compassion and empathy in general. We share stories of rescued animals helping children draw parallels with their own circumstances, allowing them to see animals as sentient beings with similar emotions to them. This helps turn worrying behaviour towards animals into nurturing and compassionate behaviour - helping stop animal cruelty before it happens.

10:30-11:15 AM (Sawyers)

Presenter: Lesley Winton BEM, Fostering Compassion

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Make the Connection, Change the Perception

Animal Control/Humane Officers might not be considered humane educators. However, they encounter situations in day-to-day interactions in which there is opportunity to teach someone something new. Learn how to turn potentially challenging situations into community-building educational opportunities. Explore strategies for bringing the classroom into the field through teachable moments, taking advantage of the on the spot, informational opportunities. Finding opportunities to step out of the perception of being strictly enforcement.

Look for the opportunity to do the unexpected and you can expect another opportunity.

10:30-11:15 AM (Dylans)

Presenter: Cindy Walden, Retired Animal Control Officer and APHE Board Member

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Nurturing a Seedling: Teaching Humane Education in Early Childhood

Giant Sequoias are known as the strongest tree in the world. Their roots extend 12 to 14 feet into the earth. They can grow to over 250 feet tall. These massive beauties were once just a tiny seed. It is planted, nurtured, and cared for until it grows to great proportions. The same can be said with education. From a single seed can grow a mind that will change this planet for the better. A hope at a generation that will heal our planet. With a strong foundation from early childhood, humane education can be more than a teaching method. It can become a way of life.

11:30-12:15 PM (Sawyers)

Presenter: Caroline Kelley, Peaceful Child Education

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Safe Space Training: Gender Inclusion and Supporting Queer Students and Coworkers

When thinking about teaching for the future, what we teach, who we teach, and how to inspire are all questions we tackle every day. However, sometimes we can find answers to those daunting questions when we go back to the basics! By evaluating your education department’s core values (i.e. mission statement or guiding principles), it can help shape how you can more effectively inspire more of the animal advocates and conservation stewards of tomorrow!  

11:30 -12:15 PM (Dylans) 

Presenter: Eliza Speece, SPCA Serving Erie County

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Roundtable Breakout Session

1:45- 3:15 PM (Sawyers) 

APHE Dinner

Thursday, April 20

6:00 - 9:00 P.M.

Join us for a night of festivities, food, and FUN at "Minnesota's most-booked restaurant," the "fun and funky" Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis! 

Hell's Kitchen is within walking distance - about 1/2 a mile - from the AC Hotel by Marriott Minneapolis Downtown.  80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Hosted by APHE Board of Directors

Location:   Hell's Kitchen  

Friday, April 21 8:30-4:30 

 (A light breakfast will be provided free of charge at the conference venue beginning at 7:30am.)

Giveaway & Membership Meeting

Join us for a giveaway session and membership highlights of the year.  

8:35 - 9:45 AM (Sawyers)

APHE Board of Directors

Community Engagement & The Visitor Experience

Creating an exceptional visitor experience is an important aspect in everything we do. Learn how Animal Humane Society is rethinking the way we frame our work when it comes to the two-legged friends we serve – our customers. Whether coming in shelter to adopt an animal, attending puppy playgroup, or signing up youth for summer camp – we want to ensure everyone has a positive experience. Out in the field or in shelter, there are many ways we engage with community. In this session hear about some of the things we are trying at AHS and have time to chat with your peers about what community engagement and the visitor experience looks like at your organization.

10:00 -10:45 AM (Sawyers)

Presenter: Emily Schmall and Michaela Baltasar-Feyen, Animal Humane Society

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Compassionate Food Choices in the Classroom and Beyond

Many children, especially those involved with animal welfare programming, may be sensitive to animals’ experiences. Some may be outwardly struggling with the reality that animals are used for food, while others may be quietly contemplating their own discomfort with the idea. Many students do not have support at home to discuss their questions or feelings about animals being used for food, or participating in eating those foods. As humane educators we have a special opportunity to allow students to explore their own perspectives about animal welfare, which may even go beyond our own! Whether or not we feel children should make kinder food choices, we may be their only safe adult or source of information about various food options.

10:00 - 10:45 AM (Dylans)

Presenters: Kelsey Joseph and Shawna Weaver

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Feathers, Fur, and Sunscreen: Creating a Fun & Safe Camp for Everyone

Camp programs are an awesome way to promote humane education and cultivate empathy and compassion for all living beings. While camp is an extremely fun, it’s a huge undertaking! Between registration promotions, hiring staff, creating lesson plans, customer communications, and emergency preparedness preparation… the average Camp Administrator has a expansive undertaking. This workshop will provide practical information on many important related to planning and running a camp in an animal shelter setting.

11:00-11:45 AM (Sawyers)

Presenters: Kim Ferris-Church & Nick Kohner, Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

DEI in Action: Providing Programming for All 

Interested in diverse and inclusive programming for your shelter but just aren’t sure how to do it? Let the Humane Educators from the Humane Society of Huron Valley help! We’ll discuss some of the successful programs we’ve implemented, both in the shelter and the community, that work to include youth from diverse populations. The presentation will provide tips on how to make connections and develop similar programs in your own community.

11:00-11:45 AM (Dylans)

Presenters: Jessie Hitt & Jen Barrett, Humane Society of Huron Valley

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Bark: Giving Youth and Canines a Voice

For more than 10 years, the East Bay SPCA’s Bark Program has been a successful after school partnership with Oakland’s Lighthouse Community Public School. Originally designed to address cycles of violence in East Oakland, the program pairs middle school students with shelter dogs to focus on community building, social justice, and positive reinforcement dog training. In this workshop, participants will have access to sample program structures and activities and discuss best practices for partnering with schools to benefit all stakeholders. Learn about ways this program gives youth and canines a voice!

1:15-2:00 PM (Sawyers)

Presenter: Heather Franco, East Bay SPCA

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Doin' It All For The 'GRAM

Did you know that running an Instagram account for your humane education programs can bring in money, engage your community, and educate your audience? Instagram is SO much more then breakfast selfies and lip synch videos: It is community, connection, and a place where so many people turn to look at things that please them... including videos of cute animals!

This workshop will give you hands on (get your phones out!) techniques for creating reels, stories, and posts (including learning the difference between those!) that will allow your humane education program to bring in money, build an engaged audience, and sell out your programs.

1:15-2:00 PM (Dylans)

Presenter: Mags Baker, Love Farm

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

It's Cool to be Kind

Show Your Soft Side (SYSS) is an anti-cruelty campaign that originated in Baltimore in 2011, after a trilogy of horrific animal cruelty cases that were perpetrated by groups of boys. The campaign sought to change this deviant behavior through positive and influential role models. SYSS has photographed nearly 250 professional athletes, celebrities, and public figures nationwide, known as “Softies,” who demonstrate by example that compassion toward animals is a strength. SYSS posters are an effective tool for teachers and humane educators to discuss the proper treatment of animals.

2:10-2:55 PM (Sawyers)

Presenters: Caroline Griffin, Show Your Soft Side

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

So Happy Together: Bridging Accessibility and Empathy

This session promotes awareness for accessible programming for neurodiverse individuals with a focus on dyslexia. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities. Discover ways to create more inclusive programming through understanding dyslexic thinking skills, access to resources to build more accessibility and how animals can forge relevant and impactful connections with diverse learning styles.

2:10-2:55 PM (Dylans)

Presenter: Karen Verderame, Penn Vet Shelter Medicine and Community Engagement 

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Programming for the Planet

Whether it be our programming messages or our practices as an organization, we try to keep our carbon pawprint in mind when motivating the next generation or our community! This session will explore how we empower our audience to be the change in the world when it comes to conservation and how we try to incorporate earth-friendly practices into our operations. No one is too small to make a difference or too old to learn something new!

3:10-4:10 PM (Sawyers)

Presenters: Sandi Comunale & Katie Campbell, Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh

Location: Lumber Exchange Event Center

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Excursion (Optional): 

Unfortunately, our original excursion - a tour of Animal Humane Society (AHS) - has been cancelled.

In lieu of the excursion to AHS, we are planning a group trip to the Minnesota Zoo at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, for anyone interested in joining us!

We've arranged a special greeting and overview of the zoo from their Chief Animal Care, Health, Conservation, and Behavior Officer, Geoff Hall.

Anyone wishing to attend will need to purchase their tickets in advance, and please note that transportation will not be provided

We will be meeting at a different spot than the main entrance - in between the lifesize statues of bison!

Tickets to the zoo must be purchased in advance through

2023 Conference:

Minnesota Motivates

April 19th-21st, 2023

2023 Conference Sponsors 

Visionary Level

Global Ambassador Level

Mentor Level

Teacher Level

Stacey Zeitlin

Best Friend Level

Supporter Level

© Association of Professional Humane Educators