The Coast News Group
Helen Woodward Animal Center Instructor Natalie K. poses with her quilled portrait of Tasha, an African grey parrot. Courtesy photo.
CommunityRancho Santa Fe

New craft program for adult animal lovers

RANCHO SANTA FE — For the very first time, the Helen Woodward Animal Center is expanding its summer classes to include a craft program for adults.

Crafting with Critters is a brand-new program designed to allow adults to unleash their creativity and express their passion of animals through art.

Through games, art, songs and one-on-one interactions with over 85 animal ambassadors, the center has been dedicated to instilling compassion for all living things in the hearts of children ages 4 to 14. Although Helen Woodward Animal Center has also offered animal safety classes to adults, the idea to welcome adults to one of Helen Woodward Animal Center’s fun-focused, humane education classes has been a long time coming.

“We’ve had a lot of adults ask about programs they could take part in when they pick up their kids,” said Center Education Manager Michelle Carll. “Up until now we’ve really only had classes geared to create animal-loving kids who grow into animal-loving adults. We forget that the adults dropping off their kids are probably already animal-lovers who wish they had the same opportunities their children are getting.”

Crafting with Critters will feature three, 90-minute-long instructor-led art sessions offered over the course of the summer beginning June 25. Each session features a special guest animal and a different medium of art for participants to create. Everyone involved will get hands-on interaction with their critter models.

The first session will have entrants paper quilling Tasha, an African grey parrot. Tasha’s a smart and mischievous 32-year-old parrot who has been with the center since 2007.

The second session on July 16 will have participants create relief sculptures of Zoey, a laid back and friendly California Desert Tortoise who came to the center in 1998.

The third and final session on Aug. 13 will welcome partakers to meet the center’s resident 11-year-old Huacaya alpacas, Kronk and Kuzco, by creating 3D paper layer art portraits of them.

Though Crafting with Critters is more geared towards adults, Carll said kids are welcome too.

“It’s really great for the whole family to enjoy,” Carll said. “The program aims to provide a greater appreciation for animals and all their unique features.”

Those interested can register at Tickets are $35 per participant and $5 for non-participating parent chaperones.

For more information, visit