Megan has more than 13 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and humane education with organizations across the United States, including the San Francisco SPCA, the Institute for Humane Education, Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and SICSA. Megan completed her undergraduate degree in Humane Leadership through Duquense University, studies graduate-level humane education at Valparaiso University, is a Certified Humane Education Specialist (CHES), and is certified in Animal-Assisted Therapy. In addition to founding and directing the Humane Education Coalition, Megan is a skilled nonprofit consultant who invests in and supports organizations for improved strategy, stronger leadership, and capacity building. She is the creator and host of the Coalition’s podcast, Connected Roots. She also serves as an Advisor to UnChained and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in California, is a board member at Gem City Kitties rescue in Ohio, and is a long-standing member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators (APHE) and Human Rights Educators USA.
Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where a goal is to introduce you two amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This podcast is probably sponsored by do bert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Now on with our show, Meghan Moon is a determined and self motivated nonprofit executive. Inhumane educator. She’s the president and founder of the Humane Education Coalition, whose mission is to advance the field of humane education for the betterment of all living things. The H he sees Long term vision is a compassionate and sustainable future for all people, animals and the planet. Megan is also the host of the Connected Roots Podcast and Acclaim venue for humane news insights, Education tips. Resource is and more connective roots features inspiring interviews and stories from experts in the field of humane education. Hey, Megan, Welcome to the show. Hey, Chris. Thanks so much for having me. So tell us a little bit about you and kind of how you got into this. Sure are. So, um so I’ve been working in the field of humane education and nonprofits management for about 13 years, and I started with environmental education and Social Justice education, which are components of humane ID. And after a few years that led to working in thehe, animal welfare, education sector and I also worked in marketing and development or fundraising off some different, different stuff. I’d elements of nonprofit work that sort of led me thio Ah, to working in animal welfare. So it was a very interesting journey getting to that point but exciting to see that they’re really there. Really, is this field specifically for educating about? It’s, ah, issues that impact animals and people on our planet, and it’s a It’s a real field, a real field that we that we all kind of can embrace and understand and value. Yeah, no, I was going to say, started by telling us a little bit more about human education because I know that term may not be familiar to some people. And as you said, it’s it’s a really big field. Yes, yes, it is. So, um so humane. Education has been historically broadly defined as the use of education to nurture compassion and respect for living things. And historically, the fields origins are really rooted in the kindness to animals ethics specifically for the last few 100 years. Our current collective work in this field is not not as limited in scope. It does involve sort of a hole. We kind of view it through this very holistic lens, kind of on understanding that humane education is this innovative. So Lucien’s driven effort to create a better world for all animals and people and the planet we share through education. So we’re equipping individuals off all ages with the tools necessary to think critically about real world challenges that affect human and nonhuman animals in the environment and to identify some creative and impactful solutions to those challenges. Ultimately, in an effort to create a more compassionate and just and sustainable world, um, we focus on the cognitive and effective and behavioral growth that individuals can can gain and personal development. They can gain through critical thinking and problem solving and perspective taking and, of course, empathy as it relates to animals and people in the planets. So it’s really, uh, talked through the lens of what’s called humane pedagogy which is kind of the signature pedagogy off our field of humane education. And it allows learners to process personal values and their own choices, as as they are in lined with those values. So it’s actually a very well researched end well understood field. At this point, there’s truly gaining some traction. Yeah, no, it’s really interesting just to hear you describe how it works. I mean, I’m I’m curiously What? What does this become? Where do you go with this? I mean, I know there’s always been this link between animals and people, and it sounds like you’re really starting with the core of how people their values and how they think about things. Yeah, yeah, Humane education is really quite a comprehensive field. It encompasses animal protection and human rights and social justice and environmental ethics. Even critical concepts like media literacy and social and emotional learning. Character development in pro social literacy. And we need humane education. Ruby face numerous global challenges, including animal cruelty and exploitation and violence and inequality, pollution and poverty, world hunger, these air, all of all steris global challenges that are incredibly interconnected. There is also a distinct, well researched and well published link between cruelty to animals and domestic violence and harem toward other people. This link is is incredibly understood at this point. We know that as youth develop and they develop attitude, certain attitudes toward animals that can later impact their relationships with people. So it’s a very serious issue and a very serious need. Um, we believe that the coalition that these issues make human in education and necessity for people everywhere, you know, how can we expect individuals to make informed decisions without accurate information? And how can we expect them to care if we haven’t taught them how? Uh you know? And if if individuals lack the ability to think critically and strategically about the challenges that we face in our world, how can they be expected to solve them? How can they be expected to have compassion for other other living beings? So it was with comprehensive, humane education. We really can explore the links between all of these seemingly isolated issues, and we do it in a safe and non judgmental environment meat. We encourage individuals thio, seek out accurate information and and develop those positive, meaningful solutions that we believe have the ability to shape the future. Yes, I’m I’m curious. I mean, for you’ve talked a lot about humane educators. I mean, what are the kinds of things? What are the kinds of programs that people are doing in this field? Many educators, Humane Educator. You are working in a variety of educational settings. Humane education is very versatile. At the coalition. We have partner organizations and representatives that teach all different subjects within the field. Some organizations focus on a broad perspective of human education, and many are very focused. It’s on things like animal protection. The, uh, the educators work in formal and informal educational settings. You do not need to be a teacher in a traditional K 12 setting. Thio teach you mean education. You can deliver all types of humane education topics to diverse audiences and these humane educators air teaching about these issues around the world, including and especially in an animal welfare organizations. Uh, lots of the experts involved in the coalition are actually focusing a TTE. The higher education levels were really looking at some of the the sort of the breath of humane education, research and policy and other other large scale issues for our field. But overall, you know, the field itself is growing. There is enthusiasm about you, me and education. And we’ve got a lot of individuals teaching about these topics in many different settings. So it’s really it’s a very exciting time to get involved. Yeah, no, you’ve got quite the background. I mean, you’ve done a lot with animal welfare. You’ve done a lot with all sorts of things. I mean, tell us a little about how you came to form the Humane Education Coalition. I mean, you must have noticed a gap or something that you felt a passion to really solved. Yes, yes. So, um, so I have been worked working in the field for about 13 years. And on a personal note, my husband’s work has required some frequent relocation across the United States over the years. And I’m sure, as you can imagine, that’s been a bit of a hindrance for me professionally inhuman education. But it’s also been, I think, an amazing opportunity to learn how different organizations sort of understand and value and prioritize humane education across the country. And I noticed some similar trends and challenges along the way. Ah, lot of the education programs at the organization’s Where I’ve worked had a tendency to sort of operate in a silo, kind of autonomously be creating the wheel where maybe that wasn’t always necessary or even beneficial to humane education as a field. And I kept thinking that perhaps there were more effective ways to use. Resource is, especially when funding is so limited and very competitive for humane education. And so a few years ago, I gathered together with several other educators and various nonprofit leaders. And collectively we felt compelled to find a way to collaborate with other agencies working in this field to see if it’s possible to further some common goals and potentially achieve a greater impact with our work. We started asking, What can we do together that we either can’t do alone or that we could do better if we did it together? And the more we spoke with those in the field, the more we realized we were not alone in that thinking at all. There were many educators within different sectors of humane education who shared a very similar vision of advancing the field of humane education collaboratively, and that’s how we developed the coalition. Wow. And you guys have had just some amazing growth and you launched it a little less than a year and 1/2 ago. That current yes, yes, and and so we are. We are an international alliance for collective impact. We have at this point over Eddie partners and affiliates and 22 countries, and that is thank you, and that is growing rapidly. We have, AH, large number of education organizations and animal protection organizations and other types of nonprofits and NGOs who share some common values and and want to work to achieve some common goals. We collaborate with these different partner or organizations who work in these different sectors to achieve those common goals and to see port their work. So in addition to providing grant funding and educational opportunities, and resource is for agencies that teeth humane education, we also work collaboratively to implement some some initiatives and ground breaking initiatives in the field of humane education, including research and policy and excess ability. So it’s a very broad, broad based, large scared Ah um organization. Working with a number of different organizations, we have, we have a common threat, and that is that we all seek to change our world through education. We all know that we can build a better future for animals and people in that the environment when we were together, collaboratively for change. Yeah, absolutely. And I and I love the way that you talk about that because there is so much that we can do together to really make some change. Um, I’m curious. What? What is a typical week look like for you? It sounds like quite a lot of stuff that you’ve got going on. That’s a great question. And, of course, like so many professionals and an animal rescue and other sectors of animal protection, ah, week by week ticket varies greatly. At this point in time, we have a number of committees within the coalition laid up of our board members and advisors and partner organizations that are working simultaneously on several different projects. Um, a couple of the upcoming projects I can share with you one is an event called the Humane Summit. It is an annual speaker Siri’s, that we’re putting together a way to bring professionals in all different sectors of humane education together or to learn and share and network and grow. It is an all online, totally virtual event with no mandatory fee to attend. And so we make it as accessible as we can. And so we’re really focused on that. Right now. It’s it’s coming. Our first summit is coming up on February 5th through the seven 2019 and so currently we’re securing speakers and identifying our platform for hosting the event and also, of course, speaking sponsorships. That should be a really exciting event, and I think at anyone in the animal protection and rescue industry would benefit from attending. I think there’s a love valuable. I think it’s a very valuable learning opportunity for a lot of different professionals. We also are working on developing the first and on Lee Academic Journal, specific to the field a few 1,000,000 education. And so I got a lot of folks involved in higher ed who are engaged in the process of creating that journal and that also will be online open access. You easy for everyone to act thio, get them, get their hands on the research and learn and use that research in their own work within their own organizations. Um, we were also still developing a resource toolkit on our website. Putting in a lot of hours toward collecting valuable resource is that it help educators in all different sectors of human education through accessing grant funding. Valuable research that’s already been developed in our field lesson plans and activities, books, films and other other varieties of resource is that could be helpful for them. And beyond that, we are just wrapping up our annual excellence award. Each year we plan to give one award to an organization that has me and a significant contribution to the field of humane education. And there was a nomination process and we’ll go through it a voting process to select the e recipient of that award. And so we’re putting in a lot of hours just focusing on developing that developing that award and finally is in the process for our very first excellence award. Wow, it sounds like you guys have a lot on your plate, but it all sounds really cool. And a lot of great resource is that you talked about and they’re all gonna be free and opened everybody to use. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. We having no fee philosophy at the Coalition. We really want to make humane education as accessible as possible, and one of the greatest barriers we’ve identified in our work so far is funding. A lot of organizations don’t have funding for things like professional development or their funding budget is very limited. So professional development and resource says varieties of materials that they could use in their work. And so, in an effort to reduce the barriers between our constituents and the tools that they need to learn and teach and thrive, we don’t charge any military feat is for our programs and initiatives. Everything kind of operates on a contribute what you can model. So if you’re in a position to make a tax deductible donation to the coalition, that’s wonderful. And if you cannot, that should not be a barrier to your ability to get to get your hands on. Some valuable resource is Yeah, no, I love that aspect of it because I do believe that there are a lot of people that want to help and they want to do the right thing and find the right resource is. But as you said, sometimes air barriers to them doing that. So I think it’s a great approach to to make it a pay what you can model. I’m recognizing that you know, there’s gonna be some that are not able to, but then they can still take advantage of these fantastic resource is that you’ve got Yes, yes, absolutely. So for people that are listening to this, I mean, is there a way for them to get involved? If they say wow, you This really speaks to me. How can somebody get involved in this process? Sure. So the coalition is designed eyeing Thio bring organizations together. So lots of different agencies, non profit and otherwise educational institution, et cetera can get involved with the coalition. By joining. There is no fee to join the coalition, and we do offer a wide range of benefits. And service is for our partners, which I mentioned include grant funding and consulting and resource is as well as public relations strategies in any way. We can help advance the feel old and amplify the messages of our partners to our group growing global network. So if organizations are interested in joining, they’ll just need to reach out me assuming you’ll share some contact information and at least put them direct them toward our website for more information about that. Additionally, individuals can get involved if you are an educator or an animal protection professional of any kind, and you have a desire to be involved with the coalition. We are always seeking advisers to join our advisory council to support our many different initiatives that are taking place at this time. We are at this point in all volunteer driven organization, so it’s empty is a very much it takes a village t build this work into it to enhance and grow and strengthen the field, a few being education and collaboratively. So it’s we would love your support if you’d like to join and to be involved in and to support us. Yeah, absolutely. And we’ll make sure that we include the length and that’s so that people can confined you, cause I definitely think there’s a lot of great resource is and it sounds like you’re building even more, which is really fantastic. So what, You know, what does the future look like from your perspective mean, where do you want to go with this? Kind of what’s next? Yeah, so I think we’ve reached a very pivotal moment in the humane Education movement. Um, I think we have the opportunity to breathe some new life into the field. Thio Thio Meaningful Lee grow our work to help others around the world understand what humane education is, how can benefit their organisations and how it can change the lives of the people we teach. I think we now have the opportunity to advance humane education as both a social movement and also of course, is an academic field. And we can nurture this field to get other with more research to support its efficacy. And anyone who’s involved in animal rescue it and animal protection understands the value of research. We need research to show how our work is changing lives. To show how it is is making an impact on our world. And ultimately we use that research to build relationships with stakeholders to secure funding and so on. So additional research, I think, is it is a major part of the future of humane education. We also need to build credibility and, um, I think we can We can do that through creating ah variety of programs and service is to support the organizations to raise the bar of distinction in our field and to help individuals understand what is humane education. What are the best practices in our field? How can we do our best work teaching individuals with accurate, unbiased information that gives them equipped them with the tools to make informed decisions and to be kinder, more compassionate, empathetic individuals. And by utilizing best practices for humane education, we can align our educational encourages. Oh, all of us. All of the organizations involved can be working toward the betterment of our world in the same direction, which I think is really important, a really important aspect of human education. And, you know, we ultimately we envision a compassionate and a sustainable future for all animals and people in the planet. And I think with the help of our partners and our donors on our leader worshipping other stakeholders, I’m very confident that the coalition can help make that vision a reality. Absolutely. I love the big goals. I love what you’re doing to really build a movement and a coalition, and I just think it’s really cool what you’ve been able to do in just a short time So it’ll be exciting to see what will happen over the next couple of years. Yes, thank you so much. It’s been It’s been a true pleasure. A labor of love Bill playing this coalition and being being a part of it. I look forward, Thio. Everything we can accomplish together. Well, Megan, thank you so much for coming on the program. Today’s or is there anything else you wanted to mention to our listeners before we wrap things up? E think we comfort it? Think we covered a lot of it? Um, yeah. I think we covered the main points for sure. Okay. Well, Megan, thank you so much for coming on the program today. We appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. And thank you for all you do to make our world more compassionate and to help others learn about the importance of the work in animal protection. Great. Thanks, Maggie. Anything. Thank you. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, joined the air p A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.