The generous folks from Rancho Grande offer an annual scholarship to a student with a passion for animals. The recipient for the 2019-2020 academic year is Ojai resident, Kali S. ‘23. To apply for the scholarship, Kali wrote an impressive 500 word essay about her love of animals. While accepting her scholarship, her love was well reciprocated by all the animals at Rancho Grande.

Rancho Grande Press Release

Ojai, CA – Alex Murad, director of animal welfare at Rancho Grande, today announced the first recipient of the Rancho Grande Scholarship Fund on Behalf of Animals. Kali Smith, a student who will enter Besant Hill School as a 9th-grader in the fall, received $5,000 in tuition assistance for her essay on the importance of protecting the rights of animals. In her essay, Smith wrote that she first began thinking seriously about animal welfare several years ago, when she was cast in the role of Mufasa, in The Lion King.

“I started to become aware of the interconnection of all living things. One of my favorite lines was: From the day we arrived on the planet, everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”

In addition to caring for her family’s pets, Smith has been a volunteer at the Humane Society and recently toured the Acton Wolf Sanctuary in Southern California. “These experiences taught me more about animals and support my theory that animals have similar spirits and souls as humans,” Smith wrote. “But they can’t speak for themselves. We have to act on their behalf.

“Now, I want to learn more, and then educate my friends and so many other people,” she continued.

“I like what Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’”

In presenting the scholarship, Murad said he was pleased that Smith shares Rancho Grande’s passionate commitment to animal wellbeing. He noted that, in addition to ensuring that animals in their care “are healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express its innate behavior, and not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress,” as advised by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Rancho Grande personnel believe that animal welfare also requires an acknowledgement that the quality of animal life is a human responsibility.

“That’s why at Rancho Grande we are continually looking for ways to educate and encourage all humans to adopt an even higher standard of care. We established the scholarship to increase student interest in and commitment to animal rights and animal welfare,” he said.

About Rancho Grande

Rancho Grande is a unique, 200-acre, off-grid, sustainable preserve located in a secluded and private valley 3,500 feet above sea level. Completely surrounded by the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, Rancho Grande is home to historic, century-old log cabins that still provide shelter, rolling hills covered in mature oak, bay, and pine trees, running creeks, and lakes naturally stocked with local fish and turtles. Rancho Grande is also home to an eclectic family of alpacas, goats, lambs, chickens, horses, cows, parrots, pigs, dogs, cats and humans, all of whom live in peace with the forest, the surrounding communities, and the abundant natural wildlife that also make Rancho Grande their home.