Ashley Toscano has been a local NC resident since 2014 and vegan circa October 2015. Having previously earned degrees in international studies and foreign languages, she is now pursuing physician assistant studies with hopes of incorporating a plant-based approach into her future practices. In her spare time, Ashley can often be found with her family, including her husband, four cats, and four dogs. She enjoys many aspects of volunteering, one of which is the ability to reconnect with PFAR residents and community members in a safe and open space. Ashley enjoys sharing her passion of living a vegan lifestyle and loves to hear from compassionate individuals interested in advocating for the well-being of all animals, while simultaneously aiding PFAR in their essential and life-saving work.
Denys Toscano has been living in the Raleigh-Durham area since March of 2014 and is from Ecuador, living the majority of his life in the US. He majored in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech and moved down from Northern Virginia to North Carolina for work shortly after getting his degree. Denys began volunteering at the Refuge in 2016 and has devoted his time to help the sanctuary as much as possible since then. Living a vegan lifestyle is something that resonated with him back in 2015 and truly sees the Refuge as the perfect way for people to make an instant connection with farm animals that are destined to be commodities in today’s world, when they are so much more than that. Him and his wife even have 8 children of their own! To clarify, they have 4 dogs and 4 cats that have all been either rescued or adopted that make their house a home.
Joe volunteers with the Refuge as a tour guide as well as helping with the vegan cooking classes. Joe had been vegetarian, but went vegan in 2018 after visiting Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge and meeting all of the residents, and loves introducing others to them. Joe lives in Chapel Hill with their partner Suzanne (who introduced Joe to the Refuge) and three cat companions: Toulouse, Cashew, and Butterball. They are a physics grad student-worker at UNC where they do research in string cosmology and enjoy teaching. They are also involved in socialist and anti-racist organizing/activism locally. Joe enjoys physics, history, biology, cooking tasty vegan meals, and rock climbing.
Lenore Braford is the founder, volunteer interim Executive Director, and volunteer Shelter Manager at the Refuge. Her drive to advocate for populations in need began in middle school when she began worked with children with disabilities. That work continues today, but her circle of compassion was widened to include farm animals when she began to question how our society views and treats them during her studies at Oberlin College. Since that time she has been steadily working to advocate for farm animals while educating the general public about the truths behind their treatment and their worth as individuals. Lenore has been vegan since 2007 and enjoys playing music, being outdoors and spending time with her cat Sipsie.
Michael became the Administrative and Marketing Coordinator for Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge in the summer of 2018. Before coming to the Refuge, Michael managed marketing for Monroe County Public Library in Indiana and Democracy Now! in New York City. He has been vegan for over 25 years and has been fighting to abolish cages—holding animals and humans—for nearly as long.
When he’s not in the Refuge office or taking photos of the residents, you can find Michael tinkering with analog synthesizers and hanging out with his partner Mia and their rescued pitbull, Pony.
Nathalie began volunteering at the Refuge in early 2016. She has always been an animal-lover and immediately felt right at home at the Refuge. Initially, she was an animal care volunteer, but over time her role at the Refuge has diversified. She currently helps with guiding tours, landscaping, gardening and various Refuge projects. You may find her working on projects with her partner, Rich, who also volunteers.
As a tour guide, Nathalie enjoys meeting new people, discussing the mission of the Refuge, animal facts and the stories of individual residents. She is excited to help others learn about the residents, the impacts of factory farming, and veganism. .
Apart from volunteering at the Refuge, she enjoys spending time with her partner and dogs, photography, hiking and painting. One of her favorite sayings is “we must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Originally from the DC area, Shannon relocated to North Carolina from Richmond, VA in the spring of 2014. Seeking an escape from the city and a new career in animal welfare, she landed outside of Chapel Hill. She got involved in cat and dog rescue and worked in that field for the following 5 years. Shannon began volunteering at the Refuge in 2018 and immediately fell in love with the residents and their caregivers. A lifelong animal-lover, vegetarian since 1994 and vegan since 2004, she finally feels like she has found her flock and the perfect place to carry on her mission of ‘leaving things better than you found them’. When she’s not at the Refuge, you can find her doing projects with her partner, Ross, working in her garden, and cuddling with her pets: Ike the dog, cats Pita and Boozy, and LaBronzia the chicken.