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Sanctuary One boosts digital presence

The newest blog post on the Sanctuary One animal care farm website includes some content that looks well suited for an elementary school science class.

There’s a video of game cam footage that shows deer, coyote, a bobcat, and even a fox. Many of the scenes occur at night, the animals looking like well-lit ghosts.

Then there’s a lesson plan: Animals of the Night at Sanctuary One. It invites young participants to identify animals they saw in the video, gives a space for them to draw some of their sightings, and has plenty of interesting facts and fun questions to ponder.

It’s all part of the Applegate nonprofit’s efforts to continue engaging with the region during the coronavirus pandemic.

Oregon social distancing mandates intended to slow the pathogen’s spread forced the facility to shut down farm tours and school field trips, with many volunteers being sent home and remaining staff working limited hours.

To stay in touch with the community, Sanctuary One has gone digital with its Bring “The Farm to You” campaign. Free lesson plans for children weathering long-term school closures are part of it, along with photo and video posts to Sanctuary One’s various social media accounts.

“With everyone’s stress levels getting higher and higher we wanted to address that as a care farm,” said Sanctuary One Executive Director Megan Flowers. “Part of our mission is to be there for healing and hope for people, not just animals.”

“It’s actually very difficult to be on the farm because it’s so quiet without people working out there,” said Flowers, noting the absence of 25 or so volunteers who help around the 55-acre farm.

The new digital alternative includes what Flowers referred to as “mental health breaks,” with employees posting more videos and photos of the facility and its residents than usual.

Recent posts included videos of pig residents Pickle and Gumball bobbing for apples, bees pollinating blooming flowers, and two alpacas that don’t seem too keen on being filmed, their walk broken up by suspicious glances toward the camera.

“This way, we can still give people moments as we’re waiting for the time when we can come back to the farm,” Flowers said. “We always try to post things on social media, but not in such a concentrated way.”

Then there are the lesson plans. Two will be released each week, with one focused on animal science, the other on Earth science. Sanctuary One program coordinator Elva Manquera, who is designing the lessons, said she’s trying the curriculum applicable to a variety of age groups.

“It’s hard to come up with a lot, but I want to make sure kids of all ages and families can partake in the lessons and continue lessons,”Manquera said.

“My goal is to hopefully keep kids entertained and learning.”

Another lesson in the works will include instructions on how to make a spore print. This can be achieved by cutting the stem off a button mushroom and putting the remaining portion gills down onto a piece of paper, Manquera said. Left overnight, the spores will fall onto the paper, leaving a design behind. That lesson is intended to teach participants about fungi.

“I hope people enjoy the content I’m putting out and find it useful,” Manquera said.

Workers will continue to refine the curriculum as they go.

“We’re kind of learning as we’re growing, like so many other groups and businesses,” Flowers said.

The first lesson can be downloaded for free at https://sanctuaryone.org/blog. A link to the post can be found at Sanctuary One’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SanctuaryOneatDoubleOakFarm.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

A nosey goat at Sanctuary One in the Applegate Valley. [Mail Tribune / Andy Atkinson]