MEET THE TEAM

Indra Lahiri, Founder

Indra Lahiri, PhD was called “a storyteller, dreamer, and friend of the animals,” by the Anishinaabe Medicine Man who adopted her into the tribe of the White Earth Nation, naming her “Ishkudeikwe” (Woman of the Fire). She has rescued thousands of animals from dire circumstances around the world.  She tells their stories in her writing and speaking, and lives amongst them between her travels.  In the course of her decades of learning from the animals, Indra founded Indraloka Animal Sanctuary (2005) and since 2014 has volunteered her time as a consultant, helping other sanctuaries to succeed.  In addition, she has taught, mentored, coached and keynote addressed tens of thousands of people on a range of topics that are always, at their core, based on ethical leadership and compassion for all. Indra has spoken at the Animal Rights National Conference and International Animal Rights Conference annually for the past several years, in addition to keynote addressing audiences as varied as Asian scientists, bloggers, vegfests, and peace activists. Her award-winning blog, which chronicles sacred moments with rescued animals, is followed by tens of thousands of readers on every continent.  Indra is grateful have the opportunity to dedicate her life to helping traumatized animals rediscover joy, love, and trust.

Before devoting herself full-time to animal rescue, as the founder of Global Inclusion Strategies Indra provided expert coaching and consulting on communicating across differences. She is the author of an academic book chapter, a critically acclaimed manager’s guidebook, several research reports, and numerous articles on cultural competence and leadership.

The sanctuary is not named after Indra, but rather she is named after the Hindu God Indra who created Indraloka (Sanskrit name for the heaven for the Gods).

 

Johnny Braz, Creative Director

Johnny is a farm animal artist, documentary filmmaker, an athlete, and a yogi, as well as visionary and Creative Director for Indraloka Animal Sanctuary.  He began his filmmaking career in 1996 working as a camera operator with Clint Eastwood on “The Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years.” In early 2016, he completed “Truckin’; the Story of Eddie Traffic”, an uplifting glimpse into the unique bliss experienced by a pig named Eddie, who was rescued just hours from slaughter.  Other recent films include “

Peace, Love & Animals,” a documentary film that has been called “a lyrical message of hope” that premiered to rave reviews in Scranton and at the International Animal Rights Conference 2013 in Luxembourg. Additionally, he has produced several short animal rescue films that have garnered a worldwide audience, and has also directed a number of episodes of “Yoga Journeys,” a children’s program on PBS TV station WVIA.

Johnny holds a deep reverence for the earth. His years of experience designing and installing alternative energy systems for homes and businesses culminated in touring twice with Bonnie Raitt as her environmental spokesperson.

As Indraloka’s Creative Director, Johnny brings these gifts together, creating film and still portraits that reveal his reverence for all life and the earth herself, telling the story of Indraloka’s many rescues through his art. Braz is a teacher at heart. All of his work, whether it be mucking stalls, filming a rescue,

feeding a once-traumatized chicken by hand, or teaching others how to meditate, is mindful, kind, and filled with lessons through example. Johnny is honored to put his skills to work raising awareness about animal sentience worldwide.

Angelina Schreiner, Outreach & Development

Angelina Schreiner manages Indraloka’s Outreach and Development. Residing in Philadelphia, Angelina is actively working to further develop the city’s animal advocacy movement. She cares deeply about all animals and wants to share their stories to spread the passion for their well being.

Angelina finds joy in working with the community, specifically, bringing together people who are passionate about animal rights. As co-organizer of the Indraloka-Philadelphia Meet Up group, she provides opportunities for like-minded people to come together in settings such as coffee hours and educational discussions, allowing them to develop meaningful relationships, and to exchange ideas on how to most effectively assist the cause. She works to educate all on making compassionate choices, and aims to introduce everyone to the intelligence, kindness, and love that farm animals have to give.

When she is not working on outreach, Angelina loves spending time with all of the animal residents at Indraloka. Whether she is feeding the sheep, giving belly rubs to the pigs, or cuddling a cat, she finds peace and happiness in their presence. Angelina is grateful to be part of such an important and meaningful cause, and is thrilled to spread the message of compassion to more people every day.

 

Jim Marcinko, Animal Care Manager

Jim always knew that he would one day be involved with animals. Growing up, he had dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist or documentarian, and while studying Biology and Business Administration at Lackawanna College, his passion for protecting animals and the environment bloomed.

In 2016, Jim had an opportunity to join the Indraloka staff as a caregiver. In that position, he deepened his knowledge of animals by feeding, medicating, and taking care of Indraloka’s animal residents daily. One year later, he started managing the Indraloka caregiving team, and has been a linchpin to the sanctuary ever since. He acts as a liaison between founder Indra, our caregivers, our veterinarians, and administrative staff, responds to animal care emergencies, and develops standard operating procedures and disaster procedures for the sanctuary.

Jim loves working at a place that encourages a responsibility to the animals and the planet. He’s also happy to be living near his hometown in Northeast Pennsylvania, where he has run the Steamtown Marathon…twice.

 

Brie Groth, Caregiver

Indraloka’s newest addition to the caregiving team, Brie is a longtime animal lover from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (“I’ve dressed up as a veterinarian three times for Halloween,” she admits.) After studying pre-veterinary science, Brie was eager to gain more hands-on experience with animals, and relocated to Clifton, Texas in 2015 to serve as a caregiver for the Lucky Glider Rescue and Sanctuary. There, she provided daily care to their non-native animals and domesticated farm animals.

In February 2018, Brie moved back to Pennsylvania to work for Indraloka. As Sanctuary Assistant, she helped operations at the sanctuary run smoothly by helping with facility upkeep, caretaker support, and community outreach projects. Now, as a full-time caretaker, Brie dedicates her time to taking daily care of our sweet animal residents.

 

Meg Keen, Caregiver

Meg, a Northeast Pennsylvania native who grew up adoring animals, has had what she calls “an unconventional career path.” Meg studied communications at East Stroudsburg University where she was drawn to radio broadcasting. After graduating, Meg deejayed at a local station for three years…but something didn’t feel quite right. She tried out a medley of positions in finance, sales, and marketing, but it wasn’t until 2014 that Meg realized what the missing link was: she desired to be an advocate for animals.

In pursuit of her passion, Meg took jobs with the Lackawanna Humane Society, PetSmart, and a nearby animal shelter, deepening her knowledge of companion animal care. A couple of years later, Meg went on a tour at Indraloka that changed her life. The serene Endless Mountains and the loving resident farm animals captured her heart, and after visiting the sanctuary a few more times, she applied to be a caregiver. The rest is history.

Though no two days at Indraloka are the same for Meg, one thing never changes—every day, she feels grateful for the opportunity to get to know our resident animals and share their unique stories and personalities with the sanctuary’s visitors.

 

Arianna Pappas, Caregiver

Before coming to Indraloka as a caregiver in March 2017, Arianna worked across the country in nurseries, on vegetable farms, in homeschooling and summer camp programs, and in construction, ultimately falling in love with chickens while visiting a local egg farm on Long Island. It was there that Arianna recognized that each chicken had a unique personality; she believed they ought to be loved, cared for, and free.

Though Arianna is responsible for the care of all Indraloka’s animal residents, she is known as the sanctuary’s chicken whisperer. Arianna has also used her construction know-how to build various enclosures for Indraloka, including a chicken coop, nest boxes, and guide rails for our blind chicken resident, Heim.

You can tell just how passionate Arianna is about animal care from a quick look at her Instagram feed, which is full of selfies with happy Indraloka residents as well as photos of her cat, Grizzabella.

 

Tim Shultz, Facilities Coordinator & Caregiver

Tim hails from Ohio where he earned a BS in Biology with a Concentration in Zoology from the University of Akron. Upon graduating in 2008, Tim moved to Kendalia, Texas to start an internship at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation. Over the course of nine years, Tim climbed the ranks at Wildlife, serving as an apprentice, senior caregiver, and sanctuary manager. He oversaw the daily care of non-human primates and large cats from the pet trade, zoos, and research facilities, as well as native wildlife. Additionally, he provided routine medical treatment to animals for injuries and chronic health conditions and assisted with grounds maintenance.

In January 2018, Tim joined the Indraloka team. He splits his time between caregiving and keeping up the facility, drawing from his years of experience doing both in Texas. Deeply passionate about animal care, Tim loves the outdoors and has traveled across the country with his two sweet Labrador Retrievers, Hobbs and Jake.

 

Sarah Thornton, Director of Education

Sarah Thornton is a music teacher in the Sullivan County School District with seventeen years of K–12 teaching experience. She is also a tour guide, speaker, writer, snuggler, field trip organizer, and friend to the humans and the animals.

Sarah has been an Indraloka volunteer since 2014 and currently manages Indraloka’s educational programs. She has previously served as a youth sports instructor for the Eastern Lycoming YMCA, a basketball coach for elementary school-aged students and junior high school girls, and a camp counselor and counselor supervisor at Warminster Parks and Recreation. Sarah holds a BA in Music Education from Susquehanna University and an MA in Music Education from Ithaca College.

 

Mike Freidlin, Director of Education

Mike is a naturalist, athlete, vegan animal rights activist, and environmental science educator with 35 years of teaching experience. In his role as middle and high school science teacher for the Abington Heights, Pennsylvania school district, (a role he held from 1989 until his retirement this year), Mike acted as the Middle and High School Ecology Club Advisor. During that time, he led more than 700 student members of the Tropical Rainforest Ecology Club on trips to such destinations as Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador, where they learned about rainforest protection, the rights and concerns of animals and indigenous communities, and students’ roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

Mike’s teaching expertise extends to special needs and emotionally traumatized children as well as gifted children. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Lackawanna Audubon Society and Save The Rainforest. Additionally, he has won numerous awards for excellence in education, including Rotary Club of the Abingtons “Four Way Test Award” recipient for Environmental Education (2013), Abington Heights School District “Teacher of the Year” awards (2012, 2005), Middle School Teaching Excellence Award (2009), Lauretta Woodson Educator Award for Expertise in Environmental Science (2007), Healthy Community-Healthy Youth Award (2007), Named to Who’s Who in American Teachers (2005, 2000), Named “Hero of the Planet” by Time magazine’s Time For Kids (2002).