As a classroom teacher I strove to embody empathy and compassion, inspire an awe for our natural world, and encourage students to think about the planet and all human and non-human inhabitants in their actions. I didn’t have a word for this type of teaching. It was something I did and felt strongly about cultivating in my classroom environment. While working at a farm animal sanctuary I was introduced to the Institute for Humane Education and had a HUGE ah-ha moment, realizing what I was trying to cultivate in my classroom is humane education. After that I took online courses from IHE and then applied to the graduate program. Upon returning back to the classroom I found I had gained a strong understanding of humane education and a solutionary lens through which to view my approach to creating curriculum. My gratitude and love for IHE is immense.
Betsy Farrell-Messenger has been in the education field for 25 years as a NYS-certified classroom teacher, middle school advisor, STEM instructor for K- 8th grades, environmental educator, and humane educator for a farm animal sanctuary, where she co-developed and taught Camp Kindness, a camp that inspires compassion towards farm animals.
She has a M.S. degree in education (pre-K through 9th grade) from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY and in 2014 she earned her graduate certificate in Humane Education through Valparaiso University. Betsy has developed lessons for IHE and participated in the Solutionary process pilot cohort with her middle school students. She is currently the instructor for the Solutionary Micro-Credential Program, which encourages, inspires and supports teachers in bringing the solutionary framework to their classrooms and creating the next generation of solutionaries.
Betsy lives her message of being kind and mindful of how her behaviors have an impact on people, animals, and the environment. She lives in southern Albany County, NY and shares her home with her husband of 20 years, eleven rescued parrots, three rescued rabbits, and one three-legged cat. During her free time Betsy enjoys kayaking, gardening, and volunteering.