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Meet the staff

Rachel McCrystal – Executive Director

Rachel has been at Woodstock Sanctuary for five years, first as the Development Director and as the Executive Director since 2017. She led the campaign to move the Sanctuary to its new location in 2015. Rachel has volunteered for and worked at various animal rights, conservation, and sheltering organizations over the last 15 years with a focus on development, marketing, campaigns, and strategic planning. She’s most proud of the team and collaborative environment at Woodstock Sanctuary.

Before her nonprofit career, Rachel was a journalist and ballroom dancer. She lives near the Sanctuary with her partner John and several companion animals. You are most likely to find her in the sheep pasture.

Jeff Lydon – Managing Director

Jeff comes to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary with more than 20 years of senior management experience, previously serving as the Executive Director of Farm Sanctuary, VegFund Inc., and Tompkins SPCA. He served as the Interim Executive Director of the Sanctuary for a year and a half before taking on the role of Managing Director in April of 2017, managing all Sanctuary operations and continuing his career in animal rights leadership.

Jeff is a certified leadership coach and consultant and holds a master’s degree in education with a concentration in humane education. He has published regularly on animal advocacy and other social justice issues and frequently presents at related conferences. Jeff lives with his wife, children, cats, and dogs, and enjoys playing the drums in his spare time.

Hervé Breuil – Shelter Director

A long-time animal lover, Hervé has been fighting for animal rights both in France and the United States for many years. Before moving to New York to join our team as an animal caregiver, he was the Campaign Manager for the French animal rights organization L214, which now he sits on the board of. He has lived in a number of places in both countries and when he hasn’t been employed in the animal advocacy field, he has used his bi-lingual talents for work – teaching English in France and French in the United States in both public and private schools. Hervé has also used his teaching experience to lead tours as a Humane Educator at the Sanctuary on the weekends.

Since joining Woodstock Sanctuary in 2012, Hervé has developed a deep bond with our rescued residents. His love for animals is fulfilled by the hands-on time he spends tending to our residents, observing and understanding their behavior, researching and working with vets and prosthetists to create and implement the best care and treatment protocols, and overseeing our team of caregivers.

Lizz DeFeo – Marketing & Communications Director

Before working at Woodstock Sanctuary, Lizz spent eight years in New York City completing her degree in International Trade and Marketing and kicking off her career. Starting with the food and beverage industry, Lizz dabbled in various areas including assisting fashion stylists in photoshoots, organizing model casting and runway production for NYFW, developing marketing content for wallpaper designers and lighting brands, and possibly her quirkiest job: being in production for Charles Schulz’s Peanuts — yes, as in Snoopy! Throughout the variety of her work, one thing remained a constant: her veganism. Lizz has been vegan for 10 years and believes it was one of the best decision’s of her life. As Woodstock’s Marketing & Communications Manager, one of the many parts of Lizz’s job is social media — she loves to watch the nonprofit’s advocacy grow and make such an impact on so many lives every day. The best part of it? Having the staff dance in Boomerang videos — anything for the likes, right? For all press and media inquiries, you can contact Lizz at lizz@woodstocksanctuary.org.

Leigh Goldstein – Hospitality Manager

Leigh has been vegan for eight years and is so excited to align her passion for the animal rights movement with her professional skillset. With 12 years of experience in hospitality, nonprofit work, and small business development, Leigh believes strongly in the Sanctuary’s mission to connect the AR movement to other social justice movements in a holistic way. Working to strengthen and unite justice reforms across all movements is what drives her.

Leigh’s goal is to not only help create a comfy, beautiful space for people to fall in love with farmed animals, but to make plant-based food very accessible and familiar as The Gray Barn’s Hospitality Coordinator.

Outside of The Gray Barn, Leigh is working toward a friendship with Dolly the llama and bonding with the other residents. She loves spending time with Atlas, her 2-year old rescued Dutch Shepherd, and she enjoys making jewelry and taking full advantage of the outdoor life in the Hudson Valley.

Diana Martins – Shelter Manager

As a licensed veterinary technician, Diana knew she wanted to work with animals for the rest of her life, but to also be an advocate for them. Diana started in 2018 as an intern at the Sanctuary, and shortly after, she was hired as a full time animal caregiver.

Although she loved working in a hospital setting with small animals, Diana’s lifetime goal was to end up at a sanctuary where she could take care of the animals that were effected by the food industries.

Diana lives in a tiny house in Highland with her 2 cats. She enjoys listening to music, reading, writing, and art. When she’s not at the Sanctuary, you can find her out in nature, trying every vegan friendly restaurant out there, and practicing yoga.

Aubrey Fitzpatrick – Gifts Coordinator

Aubrey began her journey as an animal activist at 9 years old when she made the decision to go vegetarian. While studying for her dual bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology, she was an active member of Animal Rights Association. While surrounded by other animal lovers, Aubrey learned about the suffering inherent to all form from of animal agriculture and knew she had to go vegan. After graduating from college, Aubrey spent a year volunteering through Americorps NCCC, where she took every opportunity to help out every horse sanctuary, no-kill animal shelter, and wildlife rehabilitation center she could find. When the program came to an end, she knew an internship at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary would be the perfect way to continue advocating for animals. She is so excited to now work here full-time! Aubrey is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration, to help her build a career advocating for animal rights in the nonprofit sector. In her free time, you can find her reading, traveling, and cuddling turkeys.

Sabrina Galasso – Marketing Associate

Sabrina knew from a very young age that she had a connection with all animals. She began her activism at age 9 by taking her birthday money to purchase supplies that the town wouldn’t provide for local animal shelters on Long Island. She took initiative in her life and went vegetarian at 12 years old and vegan at 15, and never looked back. Making this change so young can be hard for a lot of people, including the families of the young activists. With time, patience and education she’s helped her family make strives towards veganism as well! Sabrina is so thrilled to be a part of this community especially with the support of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary Team. She joined Woodstock Sanctuary’s marketing team as an intern in August 2018 while studying Graphic Design at SUNY New Paltz. During this time she dedicated her senior thesis project titled “Thinking Vegan” to explaining veganism from an ethical standpoint by sharing stories of rescued residents of Woodstock Sanctuary, explaining the truths of animal agriculture industries, and sharing resources with those interested in making the change. After graduating she quickly realized that in order to thrive in her professional life, her work has to be helping animals.

Christine Dobrick – Development Coordinator

Christine always loved and felt drawn to animals, and as a teenager began to question the food she was eating. This led to her going vegetarian the first day she moved into her college dorm in 2008. Eventually, after researching animal agriculture and determining that ethical veganism was the only way to go – she went fully vegan in 2009. Then, in 2015, Christine made the decision to quit her job at a hospital and pursue farmed animal protection full time. This leap of faith brought her to an internship at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY where she got her first experience working with and advocating for farmed animals and from there she never looked back. Before making her way to Woodstock Sanctuary, Christine did an outreach and education tour with Farm Animal Rights Movement, became a regular volunteer at Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA and then spent two years working on the Development team at Animal Equality. After living in Los Angeles for 2 years Christine moved back to the east coast in hopes of bringing her fundraising skills to a sanctuary full-time and found Woodstock. Now happily settled into the Hudson Valley with her cat, Meatball, Christine can most likely be found reading, hanging out at local independent bookstores, and talking about books. She really likes books.

Lila Weisbrot – Animal Caregiver

From a very young age, Lila has been passionate about animal advocacy. She made the connection between diet and animal welfare early on and became a vegetarian at just 9 years old.

Lila is a licensed veterinary technician and did her graduate studies in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College before joining the Woodstock Sanctuary caregiving team in 2014. Her previous work focused on companion animal advocacy but she always had a passion for farmed animals. She was thrilled to find a place where she could work with these species and help to give them a voice.

When not on the farm, Lila enjoys hiking, rowing, and exploring the rich vegan cuisine of the Hudson Valley. She lives with her husband, Ryan, and two goofy cats.

Casandra Fitzpatrick – Animal Caregiver

Casandra grew up on Long Island, NY, but even from a young age, she knew she wanted to live on a farm one day. After realizing that her moral beliefs weren’t aligning with her actions, her strong love for animals drove her to go vegan at age 17.

A year later, Casandra followed her dream and moved upstate to start interning at the Sanctuary. As soon as she got there, she instantly fell in love with the animals and the incredible community that had been built there. This is when she realized that working with animals and advocating for their rights is something she wants to do for the rest of her life. She started working towards earning her Veterinary Technician license, which she is still in the process of, and then applied for a caregiver job at the farm!

When she isn’t working or doing school work, Casandra can be found jamming on the guitar, writing stories, testing vegan dessert recipes or blasting music while driving around aimlessly in the mountains.

Lauren Lapierre – Animal Caregiver

Lauren grew up in Western MA always having a deep love for animals but not sure what to do with that passion. In college as a vegetarian, Lauren went vegan on Thanksgiving Day of her junior year after joining a vegan club and learning the truth about dairy and eggs. In the summer of 2014, Lauren did a caregiving internship at Woodstock Sanctuary which she considers a life-changing experience. She fell completely in love with caring for farmed animals and felt that finally, her passion and purpose came together. After Lauren finished school with a degree in Public Health, she went on to work at another sanctuary in a managing caregiving role for two years. Lauren spent some time traveling after that, making her way back to work at Woodstock Sanctuary, where she could not be happier to be. When not caregiving for the animals of Woodstock, Lauren enjoys spending time with her cat Meeko, trail running, and hiking.

Lindsay Mikus – Animal Caregiver

Lindsay has always had a passion for working with animals. After earning a BS in biology she worked various “odd jobs” until finally deciding to take the leap and attend veterinary school. She spent several years in companion animal private practice, but wanted a career more in line with her personal convictions. Woodstock Farm Sanctuary was the place that inspired her to choose vegan in October 2015 after over a decade of a vegetarian lifestyle; what better place to move forward?

When not at the farm Lindsay is with her children, Avery and Julian, and keeps involved in activism attending Save Movement events whenever possible. She loves traveling and has spent time living in the Caribbean and the UK. Lindsay enjoys nothing more than being out in nature, road trips and dancing (poorly). She also has a keen interest in holistic medicine, wellness care, nutrition, alternative therapies and hopes to implement more of this for the residents at the sanctuary.

Rosie Whelan – Animal Caregiver

Rosie always knew she wanted to work with animals since she was a kid. She originally went to the University of New Haven for Marine Biology right after high school, but then ended up taking some time off to figure out what she truly wanted to do with her life. She then joined the vet tech program at SUNY Ulster, which felt like the perfect fit. While in vet tech school, she visited Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and fell in love, knowing she wanted to work with large animals and do so at this sanctuary. Rose joined the team in 2019 after graduating from the vet tech program, and is currently working on getting licensed. Her favorite rescued resident is Benny the goat.

 

 

Ally Egan – Animal Caregiver

Ally has always had a passion for helping others. In 2012, she went vegan overnight after learning about how that change could help animals, humans, and the planet. She wanted to find more ways to help, so she decided to go to school for Environmental Studies and volunteer at local homeless shelters in her hometown of Syracuse, NY.

After college, she decided she wanted to help animals more directly and applied to be an animal caregiving intern at Woodstock. She fell so in love with the animals and the environment of the sanctuary that she stayed for over a year until she was hired as an Animal Caregiver. Outside of work hours, you can usually find Ally cuddling with Cornish hens, giving Mikey steer a butt rub, or hanging out at home and cooking.