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The Education and Outreach Coordinator position was created to allow the LPCHS to become more involved in the community. We offer programs and projects for both youth as well as adults.

If your classroom needs a presentation about the shelter or animal related topics, please contact us. If your group wants to tour the shelter, please call to reserve a time.

We can organize a special project or create a service learning project that fits the needs of your students. Also, please check out our existing programs and see what volunteer opportunities are available. Do you have an idea for a program? Contact us.

Scroll down to check out the current programs that are in place!



Checkout the cool things that kids are doing for the shelter!

Phoenix Program - In 2010, students in the 9-R Phoenix Program created a fun, five-minute shelter education video geared toward an elementary audience, which is used in 30-minute classroom informational visits.  In these visits, shelter staff not only educates the students about the Humane Society but also brings along shelter dogs for the kids to enjoy. In 2012 students created the logo for the LPCHS K-9 Kids Kamp

Needham 3rd Graders - Last school year a third-grade class at Needham Elementary School created an informational slide show called “LaPlata County Humane Society Adoption ABC’s” which was posted on the LPCHS web page. The purpose of this project was for students to research and advocate for a community issue in which they were passionate (homeless animals) and then take action by educating the public on ways they can help. They also raised over $400 for the shelter by getting pledges for learning their multiplication facts.

Bayfield High School Fundraising Efforts –Bayfield High School raised money and donated supplies to benefit the shelter. The money is designated for an emergency medical fund that will defray costs for surgical procedures and X-rays. To personalize this project, the students adopted, in name only, a puppy that received an operation to repair its broken leg. They named the puppy Bandit and met him at a school-wide assembly. Bandit has since been adopted.

Mountain Middle School’s Donation and Bake Sale - A small group of Mountain Middle School students wanted to help the Humane Society so they decided to have a bake sale during lunchtime one day at the school. They sold homemade baked goods to students and teachers and raised over $90 to help the homeless animals at the shelter.


  Pet Power Girls – Ellis McNichol, Bella Shocklee, Jen Brown, Ella Brown, Chloe and Emily 7th grade students at Bayfield Middle School have been volunteering at the shelter since they were in 2nd grade. These dedicated young women meet at the shelter on a weekly basis for “Pet Power” in which they scour the cattery and dog kennels to find animals that have been there longer than 45 days, thus being members of the shelter’s “Lonely Hearts Club”. These animals are at risk and desperately need homes, so the “Pet Power” girls make it their mission to find them homes. The girls ask the shelter workers for insights, comb through each of the animals’ records, and spend one-on-one time with each animal to get as much information as possible on these Lonely Hearts. Ellis’s mom, Jen, takes photos and the girls write stories that provide insights into each animal’s personality. They use Photoshop to combine the pictures and the stories into beautifully done “Write Ups” that are posted on the cages and at businesses all around town. “Pet Power” has helped many Lonely Heart animals get adopted into loving homes. These girls are true heroes.

Elias Fiddler – Elias Fiddler is 11 year old student who is in fifth grade at Florida Mesa Elementary School. When he was in first grade he decided he wanted to help the animals at the Humane Society. So, he took some of his birthday money and donated this money to the shelter. In second and third grade Elias asked some of his friends to give him money for the shelter instead of giving him a present. Over the past three years he has donated approximately $485 to the animals at the Humane Society. When asked why he has done this, Elias thought for a moment and then said, "I love animals and I love to do stuff for the community, but I am just a huge animal lover!"

Kids and Kritters - From 2011-2012 the Miller 7th grader students participated in the “Kids and Kritters” program where students are writing and illustrating “bits” of shelter-related information that appears weekly in the Durango Herald to educate the public. Currently Mrs. Aupperle's 5th graders from Park Elementary are writing and illustrating for Kids and Kritters.

Animas High School Fitness Program – Once a week, Animas High School is using shelter dogs in their physical fitness program.



“Read Dog” - In January 2012, a brand new program was introduced to several elementary schools called “the Read Dog”.  Research reports that reading aloud to man’s best friend can have many positive effects on a child’s desire and ability to read. Most children love dogs, and for those students who need addition reading practice, reading aloud to a loving, non-judgmental canine listener can help develop self-confidence and reading fluency. K-5 teachers from Park, Florida Mesa, Ignacio Elementary and Animas Valley Elementary Schools send students to read for 15 – 20 minutes each week to a carefully-screened shelter dog and a humane society volunteer (most who are retired 9-R teachers). This program is extremely popular at the schools with both the teachers and students alike. “the Read Dog” has the potential of benefitting not only the students’ reading fluency and confidence, but providing shelter reading dogs with some much needed love and attention. As of mid-March, three of these reading dogs have been adopted!

Park Elementary School Resource Program – This year shelter staff and volunteers have been working with some very special students at Park Elementary who display a variety of learning and emotional challenges. For two hours each week, these students get to play with several puppies or kittens that are brought to the resource room. The students thoroughly enjoy these interactions and work hard during the week to earn time with the animals. The teacher and her aides have reported some huge break-throughs with several of the students because of this program.

Classroom Presentations - LPCHS has visited many preschool classrooms, and a variety of K-12 classrooms at Animas Valley Elementary, Needham Elementary, Park Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Florida Mesa Elementary, Escalante Middle School, Mountain Middle School and Bayfield High School.

Tours – Shelter tours are available upon request.


  Veronica Woodward is a third grader (Ms. Siodla's class) from 
Florida Mesa Elementary that focused her recent Invention Convention 
ideas on creating an "Adopt Me Shirt" for Shelter dogs.  Veronica: 
"The Adopt Me Shirt project was my idea to help the dogs at the 
Shelter get a new home faster and helps the pets express themselves."
   The invention works by slipping a hand-sewn shirt vest on the dog 
and creating a message from stenciled letters to display in clear 
pockets on the vest.  Veronica: "...for example: If someone is looking 
for a cuddly dog, then the message on the dog's jacket might say - I 
like to cuddle".
   Veronica's interests include figure skating, "playing on my 
iPhone", reading and playing with her hamsters and her dog.   Her 
feelings about animals and the inspiration for her invention: "...I 
hope that all animals have a good home and that the owners take good 
care of them".

Girls on the Run from Park Elementary donated a bunch of toys and treats for the homeless animals at the La Plata County Humane Society! Here's a little bit about the Girls on the Run Group.

Girls on the Run is a transformational learning program for 8 to 13 year-old girls. We teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Mrs. Sutton 2nd graders from Ignacio Elementary donated Christmas 
items to the shelter.



The Boys and Girls Club of La Plata participated in the READ 
Program during the 2012 summer. Thirty-five students spent Fridays 
reading to our dogs. (Photo to the left)

Mr. Hughes 6th graders from Columbine Christian School 2012 did a  service learning project presenting various toys and items they made for the shelter animals.




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