Beginnings of Humane Education

What is Humane Education?

Humane Education is defined by the National Humane Educators Society as “teaching people how to accept and fulfill their responsibility to companion animals…to understand the consequences of irresponsible behavior and finally, Humane Education encourages the value of all living things.”

The Beginnings of Humane Education

The birth of humane education, as a national effort, dates back to 1915. That year, “Be Kind to Animals Week” (celebrated the first week in May) was inspired by Dr. William O. Stillman, leader of the American Humane Association. B.K.A.W.’s primary goals were visiting local schools to promote the development of humane education, and publicizing the good works of the nation’s humane societies. Growing Kinder strives to continue in the spirit of the original humane educators for the betterment of all of our community – people and pets together, hand in paw.

Humane Education Requirements in the State of California

California (Cal Ed Code § 233.5; (2007)
§ 233.5. Duty concerning the instruction of pupils concerning morals, manners, and citizenship. (a) Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of a free government. (b) Each teacher is also encouraged to create and foster an environment that encourages pupils to realize their full potential and that is free from discriminatory attitudes, practices, events, or activities, in order to prevent acts of hate violence, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 233.

Growing Kinder is a 501c3 non-profit organization

providing Humane Education presentations and programs that support the animal-human bond.
We strive to nurture empathy, personal responsibility, and compassionate stewardship for all: caring for pets, respect for nature, and positive community involvement.
Pet Start, Kids Speak for Pets, Service Learning Projects / Service Learning Together, Boy Scout Merit Badge Counseling, Project WILD™, Dogs & Storks, and other companion animal behavior and training assistance.

The EIN for the Growing Kinder nonprofit is 45-3606229.


Jen Walker, Certified Humane Education Specialist (HSUS), Founder and presenter of Growing Kinder

Delta Pet Partner Team, Pet Tech Level 1,
a graduate of San Francisco SPCA Dog Trainer’s Academy,
Marin Humane Society CITA,
and Pets for Life (HSUS).

Jen Walker founded Growing Kinder in 2011, based on her professional experience in animal welfare and humane education. She has previously run many of the programs offered by Growing Kinder while employed at animal shelters in Washington and Oregon. She has also taught summer-camp and after-school programs in environmental studies and animal welfare and interned at a wildlife rehabilitation center. The thread that weaves through these activities is responsible stewardship for all, for animals (both domestic and wild, and other people), as well as for the world around us.

Please join Growing Kinder on Facebook.

Growing Kinder is a non-profit organization 501(c)3 dedicated to serving our community. It offers a variety of programs, beginning with preschool, through high school (service learning, programs for at-risk youth and Boy Scout merit badge counseling) to adult education (pet first aid, new parents with dogs, and disaster preparedness). Programs for the whole family will be adding in the coming year (2017) to strengthen the animal-human bond, assist families with pet issues, and teach better communication and care skills.

Growing Kinder is built upon partnerships with other local and national organizations, most especially with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, which provides logistical support for many of these programs. Other partners include Head Start, Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Dogs & Storks™, Delta Society, Kids Scoop, and the Boy Scouts of America.

Growing Kinder’s youth programs are all provided at no cost to students, their classrooms, or their schools as a public service in partnership with the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. Your donations, and other grants allow Growing Kinder to continue to provide these services to our community. Thank you for your support!




I am a wandering hedge-scholar. Feet in the dirt, head in the clouds, dog by my side!
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