Last night, the 2009-2010 class of Boston-area Schweitzer Fellows had their second monthly meeting. These monthly meetings — a staple of the U.S. Schweitzer Fellowship Programs — are structured opportunities for Fellows to connect, share resources and experiences, participate in leadership and skills-development workshops, and tap into the valuable support of their like-minded, service-oriented peers.

As I learned firsthand last night, these meetings are also a whole lot of fun.

Last night’s meeting site — the location rotates each month — was the gorgeous, pastoral campus of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton (yes, those are sheep in the background):


The Fellows initially convened in a classroom at the School’s Wildlife Clinic, sharing a meal — and their experiences to date getting their service projects off the ground. Then, Emily Morrison — a student at the Cummings School, and a 2009-10 Fellow who will be working with Second Chance Fund for Animal Welfare to expand their pet owner education and outreach programs — took the Fellows on a tour of the campus.

Here, Taiwo Oshodi (a student in the Tufts University School of Medicine’s MBS/PHPD program who will be working with Boston Living Center’s Nutrition Works Program and Boston GLASS Community Center to promote healthy living and eating) comes face to face with one of the Cummings School’s two lovely llamas, whose names are Big and Rich:


And here’s Portia the cow, a rumen donor (if you’re not squeamish, and you want more information on exactly what that means, click here):


Here’s Emily in the anatomy lab, showing the enthralled Fellows a plastinized cow stomach (for vet students, an incredibly useful learning tool):

Plasticized Stomach
Shandon Halland — a student at the Boston College Connell School of Nursing who is working with Cambridge Health Alliance and community partners on developing a homelessness prevention program for people with mental illness — ponders the rows of animal skulls that line one of the anatomy lab’s walls:


Elizabeth Samuels — a student in the Tufts University School of Medicine’s MD/MPH program who will be working with the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center and Youth On Fire to develop a peer youth health education and outreach project among homeless youth — meets the skeleton of Munch, a beloved pet horse whose owners donated his body to the Cummings School to further the education of vet students:


After the tour, the energized Fellows returned to the classroom at the Wildlife Clinic, where they started to plan the group public outreach projects that are part of the Fellowship’s curriculum.

It was an energizing, productive evening — and a reminder that not all of the populations Schweitzer Fellows serve have two legs!