Recipients of the 2020 Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards Announced

Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries honors sanctuaries, rescue, rehabilitation, and transition centers for exceptional animal care, professionalism and ethics.

October 23, 2020 – (Washington, DC) The Board of Directors of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) today announced the recipient of the 2020 Carole Noon Award: Kathy Stevens, Founder of Catskill Animal Sanctuary in New York state. The Carole Noon Award is named after the late Dr. Carole Noon, a courageous and innovative sanctuary pioneer and champion of chimpanzees.

New, for 2020, the GFAS Board of Directors presented the First Annual Outstanding Sanctuary Awards to recognize excellence in humane and responsible animal care; professionalism and ethics; organizational sustainability; public engagement; and contributions to, and leadership within, the sanctuary field. Recipients included Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, Texas; Happy Trails Farmed Animal Sanctuary, Ohio; In-Sync Exotics, Texas; and Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Africa.

“This year’s award recipients truly embody and put into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication, and excellence in animal care,” noted Valerie Taylor, Executive Director of GFAS. “Part of the GFAS mission is to enhance recognition of the work being done by sanctuaries, and the 2020 Award recipients are certainly shining stars in the field, demonstrating determination, innovation, and fortitude during challenging times, all for the animals – qualities esteemed by GFAS and the late Dr. Noon.”

Editor’s Notes:

GFAS is a global leader in accreditation programs for animal sanctuaries, assessing facilities against a robust set of operational and animal care standards, including species-specific standards for elephants, great apes, big cats, horses, farm animals, and others. More information about GFAS at and a list of previous awardees at

Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a 150-acre refuge in New York’s Hudson Valley for 11 species of farmed animals rescued from cruelty, neglect and abandonment. Each year, thousands of visitors come to meet the animals and learn about the impact of their diet on animals, their health, and our ailing planet. The sanctuary offers support through a New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program, vegan culinary classes, Compassionate Cuisine cookbook and online recipes, customized Sanctuary tours, engaging educational programs for kids, and inspirational writing and speaking of founder, Kathy.  For more information, visit

Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue works directly with federal, state and local agencies to provide rescue services to abused, neglected, abandoned and wild donkeys. The rescue manages one of the largest privately held herd of donkeys in the world on its main rehabilitation facility in San Angelo Texas, it’s sanctuaries in East Texas and its satellite locations distributed across the U.S. For more information, visit

Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, founded in 2001 and located in Ravenna, OH, rescues, rehabilitates and re-homes criminally abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals. With a culture of inclusion, diverse expertise and a spirit of try, the sanctuary has rescued over 715 animals assisting 29 counties in Ohio and across 8 states in the last five years. More than 595 animals have been successfully placed into loving homes. Learn more at

In-Sync Exotics is dedicated to the rescue of neglected, abused and unwanted exotic felines. It is the sanctuary’s dream that one day there will be no need for rescue facilities, but until that day happens, we will continue to educate the public on the unique attributes and characteristics of our residents; the realities of irresponsible and/or illegal exotic wild animal ownership and captive breeding; and the need for stronger and enforceable legislation against those who abuse exotic wild animals.  For more information, visit

Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the U.S. that operates the world’s only sanctuary for Critically Endangered Grauer’s gorillas in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. GRACE cares for orphaned gorillas rescued from poachers and works to rehabilitate them so they can one day return to the wild. GRACE also leads field research and partners with local communities on education and conservation initiatives. For more information, visit

View a recording of the Virtual Award Ceremony here.

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