VOLUNTEER VIEW: Animals as Natural Therapy farm teaches human life skills

Animals as Natural Therapy was established in 1999 and had about 150 volunteers in 2014.

Purpose: Animals as Natural Therapy offers healing programs based on the knowledge that animals can teach humans important life skills: respect for self and others, trust-building and clear communication. Animals as Natural Therapy operates out of Windy Acres Farm, a 100-year-old, five-acre farm situated at the edge of Bellingham. Windy Acres provides a peaceful, secluded spot for our animal and human partners to practice their healing work. Over the past decade, Animals as Natural Therapy has touched the lives of thousands of children and adults in Whatcom and Skagit counties. Monthly Farm Friends tour is the third Wednesday of each month with no tour in December.

Volunteer highlights: Volunteers are the backbone of Animals as Natural Therapy. More than 80 percent of the weekly work done on the farm is accomplished by volunteers. There are chore volunteers who care for our animals. There are mentor volunteers who help with programming. Minimum required time at the farm is 2 hours a week. We ask mentors to commit to at least 10 weeks (1 program session). Of course, there is always a need for office and event volunteers. The next volunteer orientation and training is June 6. To help with events or in the office no orientation is required.

Signature fundraiser: Healing Hearts Breakfast is Oct. 22 and the gala fundraiser is March 5, 2016.

Wish list: Small-sized new or gently used children’s riding boots; new riding helmets; good quality hay, alfalfa; fly repellent; round shovels; wheelbarrow; saddle soap; craft supplies.

Volunteer needs: We are organizing now for summer day camp volunteers; orientation is June 6; training June 24 and 25.

For more information, go online to AnimalsAsNaturalTherapy.org.