ROC Animal School is a collection of interactive programs that teaches people of all ages about wild and domesticated animals using talking animal characters, i.e., mascots. Started in 2011 by Nick Hadad, ROC Animal School has taken its most recent shape in May 2016, with Nick at the helm of event coordination and performing and Katie Gill operating multimedia marketing and production.

Our mission is to educate people about wildlife, ecology, environmentalism, research, sustainability, conservation and biodiversity. We want to inspire compassion for animals from all walks of life. We seek to make others love and respect animals as much as we do! ROC Animal School achieves this by pairing the arts and entertainment with hands-on educational presentations. We believe empathy and education are the cornerstones of change. ROC Animal School strives to change peoples’ perceptions of animals that get a bad rap, and to improve human-wildlife interactions in order to sustain and conserve the ecosystems that benefit all of us.

Since people do not usually get the chance to talk with wild animals, ROC Animal School’s characters serve as intermediaries and ambassadors for creatures throughout the Animal Kingdom. We answer questions our audience has about these fauna and dispel common misconceptions. ROC Animal School teaches people of all ages about wildlife, including where they live, how the hunt, how they communicate, how they operate in a group and what their various roles in the ecosystem are. Perhaps most importantly, ROC Animal School shows people how important each animal is to keeping ecosystems balanced and how even the smallest creature, no matter where it exists on this planet, can have a profound impact on humans.

Check out our most frequently asked questions.

At present, we have fourteen characters available for programs and events, ten for educational programs and four for entertainment events like birthday parties and festivals. For educational, we have Howler Wolf, Kele Kestrel, Thor the Marble Fox, Oslo the Owl, Swift the Red Fox, Skye the Bald Eagle, Dakota Coyote, Talon Hawk, Sylvan T. Salvar the Raccoon, and Inola the Arctic Fox. For entertainment characters, we have The Easter Bunny, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Lucky the Turkey and, as a mythical favorite, Dazzle the Unicorn.

We travel throughout Monroe County to perform. Some of our most frequently visited venues and events have been:

  • Schools
  • Afterschool Programs
  • Day Cares
  • Community Centers
  • Nature Centers
  • Summer Camps
  • Educational Programs
  • Libraries
  • Senior Centers
  • Festivals
  • Birthday Parties
  • Farmers Markets

You can either choose from one of our pre-existing programs or work with us to create a customized program that incorporates your theme with our talking characters! Our major target audience is kids from pre-K to grade 6, but we do work with people in every age group, including seniors. We’ve had some delightful events where seniors and youngsters work together! We operate year-round, allowing everyone to get in on this unique educational opportunity.

Cost for a one-hour educational program ranges from $50 to $75 based on audience size, location and amount of customization involved. Cost for a birthday appearance is $50. We are a mom-and-pop run operation, so materials, production and performance fees, and travel are included in this estimate. We generally stay within the greater Rochester, NY area to keep fees low, though we will travel outside of Monroe County for an additional cost.

ROC Animal School strives to create unique and engaging content, in all mediums, that educates and informs others about animals throughout the world. We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and WordPress. You can follow us online for various fun animal facts, photos, videos, projects and news about the animal world.

Our program is constantly expanding and experimenting with ideas, so expect even more features to appear in the near future. We are passionate performers dedicated to our craft, and we seek to inspire that passion for the arts and compassion for animals in others.

So come join the pack! ROC Animal School guarantees a howling good time for everyone involved.