Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Josh Le
Communications Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.212.3428 direct
952.431.9300 fax
[email protected]

Apple Valley, MINN – September 23, 2016 – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the Minnesota Zoo received Significant Achievement in AZA’s 2016 Volunteer Engagement Award for the Minnesota Zoo Volunteers: 3 Million Hours Engaging and Inspiring Action to Save Wildlife program. The AZA Volunteer Engagement Award recognizes outstanding achievement in volunteer program development and engaging volunteers in the overall mission and operation of the organization.

“More than 160,000 volunteers work hard every year and contribute approximately 8.5 million hours to help AZA and its accredited aquariums and zoos accomplish our conservation and education mission,” said Stacey Luhring, senior education specialist – volunteer services at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and chair of the AZA Volunteer Management Committee. “This award provides well-deserved recognition to the Minnesota Zoo for its innovative Volunteer Engagement program, through which these extremely dedicated volunteers further engage the community in the facility’s important work as an agent of conservation.”

The Minnesota Zoo’s thriving volunteer program proudly recognizes the more than 1,100 volunteers that donate more than 111,000 hours of service to the Zoo each year. Zoo volunteers are integral to Zoo operations and guest experience and on any given day, as many as 40 volunteers are onsite, assisting guests and staff.

Minnesota Zoo volunteers have a long history of dedication and commitment to supporting the Zoo’s mission of “connecting people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife.” The time, talent and treasure that volunteers so willingly give create an environment for people to be inspired and engaged to act on behalf of wildlife, the impact of which reaches to corners around the world. Minnesota Zoo volunteers create memories for the facility’s guests that last a lifetime bringing back fond interactions experienced at the Zoo.

“We had a great volunteer program when I was first on staff as a zookeeper more than 20 years ago. The growth and quality of this program has obviously continued since then. I can’t think of a stronger, more committed volunteer corps anywhere in the country today,” said John Frawley, director and president of the Minnesota Zoo. “Our volunteers help create safe, amazing experiences for the 1.2 million guests and students we serve every year. We owe them all our heartfelt thanks.”

If you are looking for a truly wild time this fall, consider becoming a Minnesota Zoo volunteer. Volunteers meet new friends, learn all about exotic and domestic animals, and provide an invaluable service to the Zoo and its guests. The Zoo is currently seeking volunteers, age 17+, for its 2016 fall and winter season. For more information, visit mnzoo.org or call the Volunteer Office at 952.431.9588.

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).