Our FOSTER PROGRAM is a great experiential, short-term learning opportunity for young learners.
The process starts when parents and children attend a two+ hour workshop we call "Bunny Boot Camp Intro" that explains the basics of rabbit care and the workings of our foster program. Our content is best suited for children (Kindergarten and above) and their parents to learn together. This is a very hands-on opportunity that requires a caring adult to be diligent to supervise both the bunny and the child each time the bunny is out of the cage. Preschool children can be helpers, but typically the child will get more out of this experience if they are a little older. We love teaching others and look forward to sharing with you what we have learned about these special creatures.
Also, for exceptional Gr 6-8 and Grade 9-12 science students, we offer some workshop session that include advanced concepts. Also check out our apprentice program under our teaching methods page.
|(c) 2014 SSmith|
OUR MISSIONOur programs engage children in active, fun "hands on-minds on" learning, sparking an interest in how the world around them works and demonstrating how STEM education tools can help them solve challenges.
1) PROVIDE S.T.E.M. LEARNING WHILE SHARING THE JOY
Bunnies Bunnies Bunnies :-) at events, camps & your home
Science is fun, stimulating & useful
Playing outdoors is awesome
Explore rabbit farming & get dirty
2) EMPOWER KIDS AND FAMILIES
PREVENT Type II Diabetes.
BUILD 40 Developmental Assets
SHRINK Academic Achievement Gap
CREATE youth entrepreneurs (Farm, Fiber, Food)
3) TEACH BEST RABBIT PRACTICES
DETER IMPULSIVE RABBIT OWNERSHIP or "gifting" to kids
PREVENT POOR CARE, abandonment & neglect
PRESERVE 4 BREEDS that are threatened for extinction
Fostering is a FUN & INFORMATIVE and a WONDERFUL alternative to rabbit ownership... and a lot less expensive. This analogy isn't perfect, but think of our rabbits and supplies like a cuddly library book that you can "check out" and experience. Then after a few weeks, some people may wish to purchase the book to keep for their home. Others enjoyed the book and then the go do something else...But who keeps quiet about a great book??? No -- you want to pass it on!
We have pledged to make every effort to assure that animals do not find their way into the hands of those who are not qualified, equipped or committed to care for them properly. That means providing education, mentoring relationships and supplies during a foster experience...and screening applicants. Although our primary goal is education, we specifically hope to deter impulsive bunny ownership, especially in homes with young children who are not yet equipped for this responsibility. Rabbits can live 8 to 10 years, so we want families prepared to make informed decisions.
HOW IT WORKS
STEP 1 "Bunny Boot Camp" Intro: This is a stand-alone class, which means that you can come in, learn a lot and then walk away without fostering or any other commitments. We focus on rabbit care (basic prevention, carrying, simple grooming, housing, transportation, feeding, litter box & habitat cleaning, play time, etc). We won't be teaching serious rabbit issues like diseases or showing graphic photos, but we will let them know that ownership of a rabbit is a long-term responsibility and a relationship that should be entered into "with eyes wide open." Wellness is more than being free from sickness: we want to ensure that the animals entrusted to a family have the best life possible. We stress daily upkeep and prevention techniques. After completion, each child in the family will receive a certificate. For some families, this was "just enough" and they don't move forward, while others wish to apply to foster a rabbit in their home. Simply email us and we'll share details about upcoming classes.
STEP 2 Foster Application: For those who wish to continue in our program, there is an application process to help us to help you prepare for a bunny in your home, and to help screen for potential hazards. Sometimes a rabbit is just not a good fit. And maybe the timing is just off. We want to help make sure that you are set up for a successful, fun, safe and rewarding experience that is mutually wonderful for our bunnies. We joke that this is like E-harmony, trying to match rabbits with families.
STEP 3 Approval: When a foster bunny is available, we will pair foster-approved families with one of our weaned 8 week old American Blue rabbit babies or adults or other breeds for approximately two months. (Remember that baby bunnies grow up very quickly, so these are not tiny little animals that fit in your hands. Just like your children, they grow right before your eyes). The rabbits are already named and marked, but feel free to give them a middle name if you want. :-) We then work with you to make sure that your house is set up for this experience. We have two different arrangements and payment structures, one if you have supplies and are ready to go, and one if you need a hutch/cage or other supplies.
STEP 4 Fostering: We provide what you need to have a rabbit in your home for four weeks at a time for a total of eight weeks: rabbit, cage, play pen, food, hay, water bottle, litter pan and lesson plans. We want to help ensure your success, so we'll talk about your set up and figure out if you need other supplies.
During Bunny Boot Camp you'll learn our specific methods that foster families agree to follow as a condition of participating in the program. For instance, we have some bunny "table manners" and litter training techniques that we start teaching to the babies that will help keep their care consistent. We will remain a source of information throughout the fostering, so you can call/email if you have questions or concerns. If you go on vacation, bring the bunny back if you don't have a friend to care for it while you're gone. If a bunny is sick or hurt, give us a call and we determine the course of care which is paid for at our expense; they are still OUR rabbits but you just get to help take care of them. ( In the same way if anything catastrophic happens, we have a plan in place and we will make final arrangements). As an extended family member, you will be invited to bring the bunny to participate in play dates with other bunnies from our farm and other educational workshops as your schedule allows. At about the halfway point, you agree to bring the bunny back in for a health checkup and an appointment at the HARE SALON (TM) . This gives us an opportunity to reconnect with you and our bunny in person and to answer more questions that you didn't even think about a month earlier. We give you more food and hay and more lesson plans. Then at the conclusion of the foster program, we have some special ways to celebrate how much your child has learned.
STEP 5 Adoption/Pet Ownership: After weeks of playing and caring for a rabbit, your family can make a more-informed decision about whether or not it would like to foster another bunny, or own your own rabbit. You have first right to adopt that bunny who has been in your home or to get priority on the waiting list for another baby bunny once it is weaned. Or perhaps we can help you find a different reputable breeder... We require that permanently adopted pet STEM Bunnies have a visit with the veterinarian to be spayed or neutered to help them be more suited to a forever home. The cost of adoption includes this vet service and ARBA registry.
So that's our program in a nutshell.
We hope so see you at a Bunny Boot Camp Intro class this spring. REGISTRATION LINK