We are now seeking nominations for The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries Carole Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence. The award was created to honor outstanding contributions to the animal sanctuary field. The honor memorializes Carole Noon, Ph. D., a courageous and innovative sanctuary pioneer and champion of chimpanzees. The first award, given in 2009, was awarded posthumously to Dr. Carole Noon.
The award will be given to a sanctuary or individual who embodies and puts into practice the GFAS philosophy of vision, dedication and excellence in animal care.
Carole Noon, PhD exemplified these traits with an innovative spirit, creating solutions to overwhelming challenges; a deep knowledge of those entrusted to the care of the sanctuary; and a dedication to animals and a determination to succeed that manifested in a commitment to ensure humane and responsible care for the lifetime of each of the sanctuary residents.
Nominations are being solicited through the end of July, 2010 . Please state in 500 words or less how the nominee (sanctuary or individual) exemplifies the traits listed above. Send nominations to
Applications are reviewed and a recommendation is made by the GFAS Award Committee, which includes a representative of the past recipient. Both the Sanctuary Director and the Sanctuary Board must understand and be comfortable with the publicity implications that come with the award for a recipient associated with the sanctuary. The final responsibility for selection rests with the GFAS Board of Directors. The award ceremony location and time depends upon opportunities available that year.
The winning sanctuary or sanctuary director receives a distinctive engraved plaque, and a monetary donation to the sanctuary.
At the recent Taking Action for Animals Conference in Washington DC, GFAS presented a panel entitled “The Animal Sanctuary. Start One. Support One.”
One of the panelists was Matt Smith of Project Perry. He gave a super presentation on starting a sanctuary. The nuts and bolts were covered by an excellent handout provided by Kim Sturla of Animal Place, farmed animal sanctuary.
Matt stressed that starting a sanctuary is more than playing with and caring for the animals. It is running a business. He emphasized the need for both passion AND knowledge. Matt started his sanctuary, armed with a MBA and two years spent as a volunteer at Foster Parrots.
That brings me to the point of this blog. Kudos to Marc Johnson and Karen Windsor of Foster Parrots for their willingness to share their knowledge, expertise, donor and foundation contacts, lessons learned, and more with Matt. Karen, in turn, applauds Matt for being willing to listen and learn and to take the time needed to really discover what running a sanctuary is all about.
This is the kind of generous mentoring, and willingness to learn, that allows new sanctuaries to start with a leg up and avoid re-inventing the wheel or repeating mistakes. The animals win! If you have stories of successful mentoring and/or learning that you would be willing to share, please send them to .
I received a phone call today. I’m sure the caller meant well. But the conversation went something like this.
Caller: I’m calling because I want to start an animal sanctuary.
Me: What kind of species?
Caller: I’m not sure.
Me: Domestic or wildlife?
Caller: I’m not sure.
Me: Have you run a business or nonprofit before?
Caller: No. I’m wondering how you start.
Me: Well, I would suggest you volunteer at a sanctuary as a first step.
Caller: But I was wondering where I go to get money to start. I mean, shouldn’t I buy some land first or something like that?
At that point I began to talk about the virtues of alternative careers.
Running a sanctuary is a very sophisticated business, involving a breathtaking variety of skills and knowledge. I’m in absolute awe of all of you who have accomplished this mission impossible and have done so not just well, but phenomenally well. Please send us your story of how you became a sanctuary director. If you have any words of advice for anyone contemplating this career, add those too! Email your contributions to GFAS. Please include your name, title, and sanctuary name. Contributions will be published at http://www.sanctuaryfederation.org/gfas/for-sanctuaries/sanctuary-director-stories/. Many thanks to Kari Bagnall, Founder and Executive Director of Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, GFAS Accredited, for kicking off this feature with her story. Like many stories that I love, it begins with a special animal…