Spring break at Farm Sanctuary
All this week, there is a group of students from the University of Miami in the area on their spring break. And they aren't here to visit the lakes or sample the wines. As our Bill Mich tells us, this unusual spring break involves a lot of dirty work.
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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The lovely sights, sounds and smells of spring break in Watkins Glen. For a group of students from the University of Miami, they have traded in their sunscreen and beach towels, for work gloves and farm animals. The Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen is hosting the group that for the next week will be on anything but a break.
"Even in the mildest winters, things break during the winter, branches come down, everything is kind of a mess once the snow melts. So it is really helping us clean up and get ready for our tour season," said Susie Coston, the National Shelter Director for Farm Sanctuary.
Sunday was a chance to get accustomed to the farm, meet the animals and mentally prepare for the work ahead of them. The students are studying a wide variety of majors, many of them having nothing to do with farming or animals. They came for themselves.
"I'm a big fan of the organization, I believe in what they're doing. And I am an advocate for social justice so I feel like I am making a difference out here and it's a rewarding way to spend my spring break," said University of Miami sophomore, Mark Messier.
One of the things the students will learn quickly is the compassion the Farm Sanctuary has for all of the animals.
"We see these animals as individuals, so they get individualized health care," Coston said.
And when they wake up and get to work by 7:30 each morning, they may end up taking away more than just a greater appreciation for the animals.
"This whole trip, I feel for me, is about learning more about myself," said University of Miami sophomore, Enrique Fernandez.
So they probably won't get a tan or go back to school with stories of spring break parties, but that's ok with these students because they knew what they were getting into and don't mind getting their hands dirty.