Lori Gagen, Executive Director
Lori Gagen began volunteering at Black Pine in 1995 when the facility added a gift shop at the point of admissions. Lori was a founding board member of Professional Animal Retirement Center, Inc., the organization formed to manage the sanctuary when it became a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2001. In February, 2006, she joined the paid staff as Director of Development. Lori became Executive Director in September 2008.
"It is extraordinary to have come into this wonderful world of animal rescue as a volunteer just trying to lend a hand to friends who were living out their dream. To have continued this journey for so many years and learned first-hand how much impact a community of caring individuals can truly have on the lives of these animals we keep has been an inspirational, astounding, and unbelievably rewarding experience! I know how rare and special this opportunity is, and I cherish it and all my fellow caregivers and advocates deeply." - Lori Gagen
Amy Hartzell, Assistant Manager
Amy, a native of McKeesport, PA, came to Indiana in 2011. She and her husband, Tom, relocated to northeastern Indiana so Tom could pursue his Master's Degree in Environmental Education at Goshen College through a program at Merry Lea Environmental Center, just a few miles from Black Pine.
Amy has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a focus in Animal Behavior, and has worked at Dolphin Quest and Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. She began volunteering at Black Pine in late 2011, and was hired full-time at Black Pine in April, 2012. In April, 2014 Amy was promoted to Assistant Manager.
"I have had a life-long passion for animals and am thrilled to be able to lend my time and efforts to a place as wonderful as Black Pine. To me, there is no greater joy than having a part in giving an animal a second chance in life. Each animal's story is a reminder of the importance of rescue work. The animals here inspire me to work hard to find new ways of enriching their lives. I can only hope that I can provide half as much happiness to them as they bring to my life." - Amy Hartzell.
Lin Staats, Animal Keeper
Lin was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She graduated from the Medical Institute of Minnesota with a Certificate in Veterinary Medical Technology. Lin worked in the veterinary field for over 20 years. She and her husband, Brad, moved to Columbia City, IN in 2011. Lin started volunteering at Black Pine in August of 2012 and was hired as a part-time animal keeper in January 2014.
"I am so lucky to have found Black Pine at this stage of my life. It gives me the opportunity to continue my passion of working with and for animals. It is such a joy to be able to give back to them (the animals) some of the joy they have given me over the years." - Lin Staats.