• History and Director

    How We Began

    photoThe founder purchased property in Connecticut in 1994 with the idea of building a state-of-the-art equestrian facility, and Lionshare Farm was born.  This land, once a golf course, grew into a world-renowned show barn for horse and rider alike, aided by the reputation of Peter Leone, an Olympic Medalist.

    With careful long range planning, Lionshare Educational Organization (LEO) was founded in 2009 to create a conservation center for animals.  Its location on the 100 acre Lionshare property in Greenwich/Stamford, CT, makes it perfectly situated for what is essentially a wildlife preserve, as it is bordered by many acres of preserved land.

    Over the years, the center has developed into a thriving organization. Structures have been dedicated to veterinary care, quarantine, acclimation, observation, and administration. Everything has been designed to enhance the health and well-being of the animals’ bodies and minds. Even though “lion” is part of our name, ironically there are no lions at Lionshare Farm or the conservation center! The name comes from leone, meaning “lion” in several languages, which is the last name of Founder and Director Marcella Leone and her husband, Peter.


    Founder and Director


    Marcella’s ingrained passion for animals has always been the driving force of her life. From reading and attending lectures, to working in refuge centers and breeding facilities, participating in wildlife rescue and release programs, and devoting hours to volunteering and field studies, she satisfied her hunger to gain practical experience.

    Through years of hands-on experience, Marcella took away one very important lesson: doing is the absolute best way to learn. Thus, LEO was born. Since founding LEO Zoological Conservation Center, she has done more than just dedicate her life to wildlife conservation. Through education, internship programs, innovative conservation research, and partnering with “boots on the ground” organizations abroad, Marcella hopes to lay a groundwork for an ongoing legacy of conservation.

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