Say hello to Gaia, our amazing September Volunteer of the Month! Gaia was a magnificent help this summer as an assistant camp counselor, and will also be volunteering as an assistant counselor during Fall Camp! Gaia is extremely responsible, dependable and kind – which makes her a perfect fit to help at our humane education camps. Whatever task you give Gaia to do – she’ll do it, and more! Thank you, Gaia, for always being someone we and the campers can depend on!

1. What do you do in your time outside of Heartland? Outside of heartland, I love to spend time with my dog and my friends and get outside.

2. How did you find out about Heartland? What got you interested? I found out about Heartland when I was searching around for things to do over the summer. I’ve always loved animals! I grew up around farm animals, so when I read about Heartland, it definitely stuck with me. I thought it was great to see an organization doing work to help a group of animals that often doesn’t get the attention they deserve.

3. Can you describe a favorite/memorable moment or event at HFS? My favorite memory at Heartland took place on a day we were spending time out in the pasture. I was sitting on one of the goat structures, and without even paying attention, Mick came over and put his head right beside mine. It startled me at first because all I felt was his breath on my shoulder. I just remember being amazed because he came so close to me of his own will. Those unusual animal encounters will always stay with me.

4. What is your favorite part about volunteering for HFS? My favorite part about volunteering at Heartland (besides the animals) is the people you meet and get to work with. They all are there for similar reasons – driven by their love for the animals. It’s really great to be around people who are giving their time to make creatures’ lives better. And, they are some of the nicest and funniest people ever!

5. What do you wish other people knew about Heartland? Something I wish other people knew about Heartland is that it provides the animals here the ability to live their best lives. Just because they are farm animals doesn’t mean they should be treated as lesser than household pets. They are creatures that deserve care and compassion and Heartland provides them with that.

6. If you could adopt only one HFS animal, who would you pick and why? If I could adopt any Heartland animal it would be a tie between Baxter and Lily. Baxter is definitely one of the coolest animals I’ve met. You might think that because he has no eyes he might be scared or anxious, but he is almost always happy. He can walk in circles and never get frustrated. He just quacks and waddles around making the best out of it. Lily is literally the cutest pig I’ve ever met in my life! Even though she has such a sad story behind her, she is just full of love! (Also she cuddles with a little plastic pig, which is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I even have a photo of her as the lock screen on my phone!)

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