October 2023

Please Join Us for the Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards Virtual Ceremony!

We are so excited to invite you to our 2023 Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards Virtual Ceremony! On Friday, October 27th at 11:00 a.m. pacific time/2:00 p.m. eastern time, we will be announcing all the winners in a virtual ceremony taking place over Zoom. If you are interested in attending, you can register here. All of the winners have been notified and will be in attendance, and you will not only get to learn more about their organizations, but you will also hear directly from them.

We hope that you are able to join us to hear about all the amazing work the winners and the organizations do for animals! We will be recording the ceremony if you aren’t able to attend and would still like to view  it. In celebration of this event, we will have several other webinars taking place during the week of the virtual ceremony. Learn more about these presentations and how to register further in this newsletter.

Sanctuary Award Week:
A Week of Webinars to Celebrate the Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Award Winners

To celebrate the Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Award Winners, we have put together several great presentations for the week of the virtual ceremony.  Below, you will find information on each of the upcoming presentations, as well as links to register to attend. We will be recording each webinar if there are some you are not able to attend. All webinars take place at 11:00 a.m. pacific/2:00 p.m. eastern on the dates listed.

Monday, October 23
Building a Donation Driven Website, presented by Dave Graham, Sanctuary Websites
View a description of this webinar and register

Tuesday, October 24
Introduction to Animal-Centered Design, presented by Lenore Braford and Paul Drake, Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge
View a description of this webinar and register

Thursday, October 26, 2023
How Do Sanctuaries Create Change?, presented by Jackie Bennett, GFAS
View a description of this webinar and register

Friday, October 27
Carole Noon and Outstanding Sanctuary Awards Virtual Ceremony
Register to attend

Another Successful Giving Day for Apes!

Congratulations to all of the ape sanctuaries and rescue centers participating in this year’s Giving Day for Apes – together they received more than $840,000!! With thanks to our sponsors, this Giving Day awarded $64,500 in prizes, including some exciting new prizes created to celebrate our tenth year of the event.

Learn more about Giving Day for Apes, and see all of the results, at www.givingdayforapes.org.

In Case You Missed It: Webinar on Enrichment for All

In September, we presented a webinar on a topic of interest to all sanctuaries – “Enrichment for All”! Our speaker, Nicola Field, the co-founder and Managing Director of Global Animal Welfare, provided a thoughtful overview of considerations for a strong enrichment program, including availability of materials, managing singly housed animals, and challenges for multi-species facilities. Our attendees engaged in a robust Q&A session, sharing their own experiences and ideas.

If you missed this fantastic webinar, the recording is available for viewing on our website at: https://sanctuaryfederation.org/webinars/enrichment-for-all/

Outreach Idea💡📚

If your sanctuary hasn’t already, consider reaching out to your local public library. Libraries are amazing spaces to connect adults and children with free programming and bring attention to the sanctuary in your community. In our experience, librarians are keen on supporting the community and hosting compelling events. Not only is this a great opportunity for humane ed, but it may attract new donors or volunteers!

Here are a few ideas on how you could implement this:


💡 Help curate an animal-themed book display (libraries frequently do featured collections, suggest vegan cookbooks, animal ethics books, stories featuring particular species and compassionate kids’ books to include)
💡 Contact the children’s librarian (their contact is typically available on the library’s website, or better yet, go introduce yourself in person!) and ask whether they’d consider having the sanctuary do a kid’s presentation/storytime/activity. You can tailor this to an age group for a great humane ed opportunity. Older kids might enjoy a vegan cooking class. Younger kids might love making puzzle feeders for enrichment, etc.
💡 If your library offers movie events, ask if they’d screen an animal-friendly documentary or children’s film with a sanctuary-hosted discussion afterwards.
💡 Ask if your library would host an animal supply drive. Much like libraries often host boxes for human food drives, they have also done so for animals. Host a kid’s activity to decorate donation boxes, print out your sanctuary supply list for patrons to pick up, and consider contacting a local pet shop or farm store to participate as well. 
💡 For domestic animal sanctuaries, consider hosting a storytime or “read to the residents” program at the sanctuary, in collaboration with your library’s children’s department. 
See how Accredited Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, NY successfully launched their Read to the Rescues Program, resulting in an official partnership with the New York State Libraries: 
Read To The Rescuesis a groundbreaking literacy initiative and equine engagement program created by Educators for Unbridled. The purpose of Read To The Rescues is to unbridle the joy of reading, improve reading comprehension, and to connect children with horses. It is volunteer run by teachers in our community and free to attend. In its first year (2021), over 400 readers participated in the program. 

“In the most vulnerable moments of reading, horses are friends who are accepting, genuine, and empathetic.”

~Susan Kayne, CHESAfter reading, children are provided with an opportunity to learn the rescue story of the horse(s) that they chose to read to, and to spend time grooming the horse(s) while learning about the responsibility of providing the proper care and nourishment for horses. 


Asia for Animals Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers Coalition and Wild Welfare Teamed Up to Present on Mental Health

One’s own mental health is often put aside when caring for others, animals included. This can lead to PTSD, Compassion Fatigue and, if left untreated, burn-out, or worse. In an industry that is already extremely difficult to navigate, it’s imperative that we consider how to care for ourselves and each other. To help get the conversation started, Asia for Animals partnered with Wild Welfare to create a safe platform to do just that.

On August 30, GFAS joined many other participants from around the globe to attend, ‘The Care Necessities – Mental Health in Captive Animal Care’. This two-hour long webinar included presentations by Akash Saxena, Co-founder of Your Wonderful Project (YWP) in New Delhi. YWP focuses on mental health awareness and accessibility. Another speaker, Dr. Leona Black from The Blacklight Coach, presented on ‘Supporting Compassion Fatigue in the Animal Care Profession’. These thought-provoking presentations were followed by a panel discussion in which additional industry professionals joined in. Bear and Vet Team Director of Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre, Heidi Quine talked about ways to practice daily gratitude as a team. Kyle Banton-Jones, zookeeper and founder of Wild Enrichment discussed his blog titled ‘Learn to Soar- Dealing with Burnout in the Animal Care Industry’. Sarilana Warilan, a professional facilitator and coach with specific interest in leadership and behavior change, conservation education and communication brought insight into employee development. For additional information on these speakers, and other resources for mental health, go to www.asiaforanimals.com/mental-health-resources.

To watch this important and impactful four part presentation, click on the link below.


For more information on the host organizations, go to:

Asia for Animals Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers Coalition – https://www.sarccoalition.com

Wild Welfare – https://wildwelfare.org/

Why Children Need Sanctuaries
by Jess Harris

They say that children learn by example, not by words. In that case, telling them to love and respect animals is not enough, but modeling what our relationship with animals should look like becomes of utmost importance.

As a vegan, animal rights supporting parent myself, navigating a world that is cruel to animals at every turn is challenging. Our family is frequently in the position of politely turning down opportunities to visit the zoo, to raise chicks in the classroom, to gawk at the animals put on display at the local state fair, etc.

It is lucky, then, that there exist some wonderful places in the world which put animals first. Where their wishes, boundaries, and inherent worth are respected above all else (save perhaps their safety). Where we may visit and meet them on their terms and in a setting which promotes their happiness and fulfillment. Where, finally, the human experience is not the only one that matters. These wonderful places are true sanctuaries.

Through visits to (farm) sanctuaries, my daughter has learned an important lesson – we are not entitled to anything from animals – but sometimes we are lucky enough to call them our friends. She has learned that just like us, some animals are shy and don’t wish to visit with strangers, while others are gregarious and will happily take a scratch and a snack. Through these experiences she has both connected with animals, and perhaps more importantly, come to view them as individuals with unique personalities, just like us. She knows many residents by name, and these connections have increased her comfort with and understanding of our fellow earthlings, not to mention the pleasure and peace of communing with these special beings.

This is important, as many animal exploiting industries claim to be necessary for children to have places to care and connect with animal kind. But forced interactions, in poor or cramped conditions with exploited individuals hardly seems to showcase the true nature of the animals we need to care about, nor the relationship required to protect them.

True sanctuaries are a far superior alternative, both for the animals’ well-being and for the educational prospects they have for children. I am proud to have brought my daughter to a number of certified sanctuaries. Our Find a Sanctuary Tool is a fantastic way to find a local sanctuary which you can be sure will embody an ethic of respect for animals.

Beyond that, numerous sanctuaries hold events geared specifically towards children. This month, Accredited Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary is holding a special Kids Tour with story time and coloring beforehand! Accredited Indraloka Animal Sanctuary is known for their youth programming, and has story times, Halloween events, and youth art sessions coming up. Many sanctuaries even offer compassionate camp sessions in the summer.

If you’re hoping to build up a compassionate generation, we hope to see you at the sanctuaries, where you might find us giving the pigs a belly rub. Until then, your donations to these organizations help support this vital programming.

Center for Great Apes turns 30!

Congratulations to GFAS Accredited, Center for Great Apes (CGA) as they celebrate three decades of true sanctuary for Great Apes. When Patti Ragan first founded CGA in 1993, the sanctuary location in Wauchula, Florida was 15 acres. Over the years, Patti has worked diligently to increase the property to 100 acres, in a tireless effort to accommodate the flow of Great Apes in need, like the recent rescue of the “Sunshine Seven” from the closed, Wildlife Waystation, in California. In 2018, Patti was the recipient of GFAS’ Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence.

At Center for Great Apes, the chimpanzees and orangutans are afforded choice, companionship and space to move freely in their sun filled enclosures. Days are spent grooming and playing with friends, climbing, spying on nearby residents from the elevated chute trails and swinging on rope vines in their large enclosures. The animals’ exploitative pasts within entertainment, research, and the exotic pet trade, are far behind them. From time to time, they even receive a visit from Dr. Jane Goodall!

This hardworking organization never misses an opportunity to share their vast knowledge of chimpanzees and orangutans. In addition to the care-giving work for the apes, CGA also offers educational opportunities like art exhibits, member days, enrichment projects, and specialty workshops for supporters. The beloved Ape-ology workshops include an educational presentation, a specific tour related to the topic, and a special behind-the-scenes opportunity to observe the apes and talk with their caregivers.

Center for Great Apes continuously pushes their limits to offer a permanent and enriching home where the residents are guaranteed a lifetime of compassionate care in a beautiful and private setting.  Over 85 orangutans and chimpanzees have experienced all that this true sanctuary has to offer. Thank you, Patti Ragan and the entire Center for Great Apes team for leading the way, and for three decades of devotion to the restoration of captive Great Apes.

To learn more about Center for Great Apes and their work to provide sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees, please visit: www.centerforgreatapes.org

February Star Sanctuary Verified by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries

February Star Sanctuary (FSS) was established in 2015 on the founder’s family farm and is home to up to twenty-eight equines. Most of the horses are acquired directly from owners who can no longer care for their animals. Not only is FSS dedicated to providing lifelong care, but also adoption services. On average, ten equines are adopted each year. Not only do they tend to horses in need, but FSS also provides a feral cat sanctuary and adoption services for eighty domestic felines.

In addition to rescue, sanctuary and adoption, part of the mission at February Star is to help the community through outreach programs. FSS is especially focused on building a generation of animal advocates by helping children to develop compassion for rescued animals. February Star also offers a ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’ Program and assists the homeless in taking care of their cats through wellness and emergency programs.

February Star continues to grow and expand as an organization. “According to Phyllis Smith, Executive Director of February Star, “Receiving this certification is so important to February Star Sanctuary because we are always learning and improving! Our goal is to help as many animals as possible, in the most efficient way. It was extremely important to us to go through the certification process to make sure we were up to the best standards in the industry. We have been growing at an incredible rate, but we want to grow in the right way.”

We are incredibly happy to welcome the newly Verified, February Star Sanctuary to the GFAS family!

Learn more about February Star at: https://februarystarsanctuary.com/


New Certifications and Renewals

Over the past month, GFAS has certified two new organizations and renewed one organization!

Congratulations to these groups!

New Certifications

February Star Sanctuary, Maryland
Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary, Colorado


Carolina Tiger Rescue, North Carolina


Scroll to Top