In 2018, the Minnesota Zoo is turning 40 years old and we are celebrating “40 Years of Amazing” all year long. The Zoo’s official birthday is May 22 and we will be sharing stories from Zoo staff, volunteers and guests about their favorite memories and incredible experiences from here at the Zoo. Do you have an amazing memory from the Minnesota Zoo? We would love to hear it! Share it with us on social media using #40YearsofAmazing or e-mail it to us at 40yearsofamazing@mnzoo.org.

To kick off our year-long celebration of amazing stories, we are featuring one of our thousands of dedicated volunteers who give their time, talents and so much more to an organization that they love, the Minnesota Zoo.

Gail Wold began volunteering at the Zoo in October of 1980 and has recently reached an incredible milestone – donating more than 20,000 hours of service to the Minnesota Zoo. This dedication, commitment and time given to an organization is rare, commendable and very much appreciated by the entire organization.

As an Adult Interpretive volunteer, you will find Gail interacting with Zoo guests, giving them animal and habitat information, doing public animal demonstrations and bringing LIVE animals into a classroom for students of all ages to experience. Some of the animals Gail works with include: box turtles, tarantulas, hissing cockroaches, ball pythons, corn snakes, hognose snakes and western fox snakes. From the photo here (which was actually taken when Gail first started volunteering at the Zoo), you can tell she really enjoys snakes, but also enjoys working with the “fuzzies” like rabbits, too.

As a small token of appreciation, Zoo volunteers receive special behind-the-scene animal experiences for recognition for every 1,000 hours of volunteer service. Gail has fed marine mammals, watched Zoo veterinarians do a procedure with a red panda, assisted Northern Trail staff feed the grizzly bears and assisted staff with enrichment for animals on the Minnesota Trail…to name a few.

She has taken an important leadership role by becoming the Tuesday Day Captain, scheduling over 30 volunteers on her day, and is especially good at team-building, making sure each of her volunteers feels like a valuable part of the Tuesday team, and she is genuinely concerned about the well-being of each and every one of her volunteers. Tuesday volunteers even have regular (delicious) pot luck lunches.

A special thank you to Gail and all of the 1,200+ volunteers at the Minnesota Zoo. We could not continue to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife without you!

Interested in becoming a Minnesota Zoo volunteer? Read more about the variety of opportunities and contact us here – http://mnzoo.org/get-involved/volunteer/.