Integrating Wildlife and Humane Education


Sarah Cooper, Project Manager, Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives, Nature Canada
Carol Kelly, Executive Director and Founder, Medicine River Wildlife Centre

Companion animal welfare and wildlife issues are often two faces of the same problem. Coyotes, raccoons and other wildlife are a danger to outdoor cats, and outdoor cats are a danger to birds and other wildlife. Yet, many pet owners insist it’s natural for their pets to roam unsupervised outdoors, failing to contextualize what’s natural for the cat in the larger context of the natural environment.

By integrating wildlife education and humane education efforts, we can improve the public's understanding of how pets and wildlife interact to the detriment of both, and how pet owners can be responsible both for the safety and well-being of their pets, and for wildlife.

Using several of the activities from the Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives new educational program for grades 1 to 9, the workshop will provide a hands-on demonstration of an integrated model of humane-wildlife education.


  1. Pets and wildlife share our urban, suburban and rural communities, and our behaviour shapes their interactions.
  2. Understanding the differences in our responsibilities to pets and wildlife, and the implications of behaviours as pet-owners, is critical to convincing the public to adopt responsible pet care practices and appropriate environmental stewardship.
  3. Collaboration and consistent messaging across sectors improve our collective ability to change people’s behaviour.


Sarah Cooper is a communications and marketing professional with more than 20 years of project management, nonprofit, strategic planning and digital engagement experience. Once upon a time she was Margaret Atwood's Executive Assistant, where she perfected the fine art of being the spider at the centre of the web. A passionate animal lover, Sarah now puts those skills to work on behalf of cats and birds.

Carol Kelly is the Executive Director and Founder of the Medicine River Wildlife Centre (MRWC) and has been a wildlife rehabilitator in Alberta for 33 years. Carol started and ran an SPCA in Newfoundland, sat on a working committee with Alberta Fish and Wildlife for 15 years and has led MRWC's research on fostering wild orphans to wild families for more than 20 years. Carol is passionate about promoting healthy pets and healthy wildlife.