Dedicated, Compassionate, and Talented!
Steve Jenkins, Co-Founder
Steve has been crazy for animals ever since he can remember - rescuing turtles in the road, squirrels who have fallen from trees, so it was no surprise when he answered the call from an acquaintance to bring a "mini-pig" into his and Derek's very small home in Georgetown.
Steve brings his incredible social media skills and love of all animals to Happily Ever Esther as the co-founder of HEEFS. He is a loud and proud speaker for animal welfare around the world.
Derek Walter, Co-Founder and Executive Director
The road to becoming the farm manager for Happily Ever Esther was not the straightest path. Spending years becoming an incredibly talented professional magician, Derek never thought he would quit the life in the spotlight to become the animal caretaker, but this couldn't have been a more perfect fit.
Derek spends most of his time in the barn making sure the HEEFS store runs smoothly, and directing all of the events at the farm.
Krista Hiddema, President and Secretary
Krista serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Krista is an activist/academic who is currently pursuing her doctorate in eco-feminism, while also running For The Greater Good. Krista spent six years as the Vice President of Mercy For Animals in Canada, where she led twelve undercover investigations exposing the truth of what happens behind the closed doors of slaughterhouses and factory farms. She is passionate about farmed animals, and in helping people realize that farmed animals are just as deserving of love and respect as the cats and dogs we share our lives with.
Krista lives with her husband Nigel, where together they rescue Great Danes, cats, and all manner of fur-kids!
Kathy Fischer, Vice President
Kathy's commitment to animal advocacy started in her teens, and she brings over 25 years of marketing and communications experience to Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Kathy started off as a weekly volunteer at the Sanctuary and helped launch the volunteer program.
Kathy’s strong relationship-building and leadership skills help ensure that every animal at HEEFS is given the love and respect they so richly deserve. In her spare time, Kathy loves hanging out with her canine family members, Maggie and Zoli.
Andrea White, Supervisor, Animal Care
A life-long animal lover, Andrea has been involved in a variety of animal rights projects and organizations, including the completion of animal care internships at Animal Place, volunteering in wildlife rehabilitation, doing outreach with Farm Animal Rights Movements, and being involved with the Save Movement in Toronto.
At the sanctuary Andrea wears many hats, some of which include organizing events and work days, managing animal care, and assisting with administrative work. Andrea is continuing to develop a photography project highlighting individual animals rescued by farm sanctuaries across North America.
Kevin Weil, Facilities Supervisor
Kevin comes to us from years of experience at Farm Sanctuary where he “went for the internship and stayed for the cause”. With almost a decade of Sanctuary property maintenance and resident care experience, Kevin is responsible for ensuring that our grounds, buildings and equipment are always in excellent condition. Even though he studied computer science, Kevin prefers to be working outside and with animals.
When he’s not at HEEFS, Kevin enjoys spending his time as an amateur astronomer and avid gamer.
Alison Watt, Animal Care Specialist
Alison is bringing a lifetime of working and caring for animals to HEEFS. As a young child in Nigeria, her favourite activity was playing with the toads beneath the front windows of her home. As a young adult in Eastern Ontario, she was introduced to small animal handling and first aid while volunteering in veterinary clinics.
In 2014, Alison began working with rescued farmed animals. Caring for sheep, goats, pigs, horses, cows and more. She learned how to assess their general health, treat wounds and recognize signs of ailments requiring veterinary care along with proper feeding, appropriate housing, enrichment and routine care including inoculations, hoof trimming and grooming.
As a full-time animal caregiver, Alison will help with daily medical care, animal enrichment, feeding, health checks, and cleaning. Her years of experience, and confidence with large animals will be a great asset to our ever growing animal family.
Crystal Downs, Accountant
Running a charity involves following many specialized and generally accepted accounting principals in both Canada and the United States. So, in 2017, we brought Crystal Downs, CPA, CGA on to our team.
In her role as our part time accountant, she is responsible for making sure that our accounting and financial reporting are accurate and compliant. Crystal, a long-time supporter of Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, and life time lover of animals, works as a full time accountant in Georgetown and enjoys playing ringette in the winter and baseball in the summer.
Our Key Volunteer Team
Kim Rushnell, Social Media Coordinator
Kim is a long time animal activist, whom after offering to bake a cake for Esther's 2nd birthday, was hooked on working for a pig. Kim manages Esther's various social media platforms and is passionate about spreading compassion for all farmed animals across the globe. When not volunteering at the farm, Kim enjoys spending time with family and friends and her menagerie of companion animals. She is also Esther’s official babysitter.
Sheryl Greenspan, Editor-in-Chief
Ever since she first visited HEEFS as a workday volunteer, Sheryl knew that she wanted to become more involved in helping the Sanctuary reach out to people all over the world spreading its message of compassion for farmed animals everywhere.
Sheryl brings a lifelong love of animals and 25 years of professional copywriting and editing experience to her role at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary.
Christine Gittings, Tour Coordinator
Over eleven years ago, Christine started volunteering with animals - first at the Toronto Humane Society and then with Toronto Cat Rescue. During this period, she was introduced to Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, and after signing up for a few volunteer work days she knew she wanted to get involved.
Christine now puts her project management skills to use as Tour Coordinator at the Sanctuary. She handles the booking of the private and public tours and also acts as a tour guide. In her spare time Christine loves spending time with her partner, Bruce, and their fur kids, crafting and enjoying live music.
Allison Haid, Volunteer Coordinator
Since retiring from a corporate career, Allison decided to fulfill her lifelong love of animals by becoming a regular weekly volunteer at HEEFS. In addition to helping out on the farm, Allison coordinates the Public and Private Volunteer Work Day events and maintains HEEFS’ Volunteer and Staff schedules.
Allison lives in Georgetown with her husband, daughter, son and Russell, their Saint Bernard. In her spare time, when not at the farm, Allison enjoys travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Jen Jones, Project Coordinator
Jen has been advocating for animals and animal rights for over 30 years. Her day job is working in fundraising technology for a large non-profit organization, but she gets her soul fulfilled by volunteering at HEEFS.
When HEEFS opened its doors in 2015, Jen signed up to help immediately. She loves getting down and dirty, keeping the barns tidy and residents fed, but also cleans up nicely to be a tour guide to Sanctuary visitors. Jen also lends her considerable experience to helping execute various projects.
Emily Coleman, Project Coordinator
Emily developed her spirited love for animals as a child while playing with her one-eyed bull terrier, Henry. It was this relationship that made her realize that he was no different than the animals in the meals her family ate. This realization sparked a change in both her mind and her home.
Emily began volunteering with HEEFS in May 2017 as an animal feed volunteer and now contributes her research, analytical and strategic planning skills to a variety of Sanctuary projects. When not working or volunteering, she spends her time with her husband and three fur children.
Kate Scarlett, Special Needs Volunteer Coordinator
With her Bachelor of Social Work, Kate worked at a local school board as an educational assistant, specifically working with children with special needs. When it came to volunteering her time, she knew she wanted to combine her love of animals with her love of helping people.
Kate finds the work she does with children and adults who come to the sanctuary rewarding and enriching, and loves introducing visitors to the animal residents at HEEFS. When not at the Sanctuary, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband, her three amazing children and her wonderful fur kids.