Elementary school students in Los Angeles participate in Animal Action Education program

The students shared stories about animals they knew were part of their habitat.I have just returned from sunny Los Angeles, California, where alongside IFAW partner Abby Berman, co-founder of Adopt the Arts Foundation (ATA), we presented IFAW’s Animal Action Education program’s Under One Sky, Why Animals Matter to almost 500 elementary school students in grades 1 through 6 in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

It was a whirlwind of a week and so inspiring to be in the classrooms with the students.

Together we watched the 2009 “Under One Sky” video narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio and discussed some of its important themes such as biodiversity, ecosystems, and extinction.

Afterwards, we focused the conversation on the kids’ local ecosystem, the city of Los Angeles. The students shared stories about animals they knew were part of their habitat and we had lively discussions on ways the children could make improvements to their ecosystems such as conserving water, especially during California’s severe ongoing draught.

This is the third year that IFAW and Adopt the Arts have worked together with LAUSD integrating classroom curricula with arts education and animal welfare.

Similar to the past two years, there is an art and essay component to this year’s program focusing on Why the Animals of Los Angeles Matter.  We have received countless submissions thus far showing that the children of the LAUSD system value their local wildlife and their companion animals.

We will share sample submissions from this program on IFAW’s website before the end of the school year and we will exhibit selected artwork and essays in Los Angeles as well.

All in all it was an amazing week. Both Abby and I were tremendously impressed with the kids’ enthusiasm for the materials and the lively discussions that transpired.

We ended the week even more in awe of the teachers and administrators of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the work they do every day!


Read all about year one and year two winners

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project