All my life I have had an affinity towards animals. Growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains I was always around animals. Every opportunity I had to escape from my chores, I would go exploring and discovering the many mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds in the fields and woods around my home. To this day, I cherish those times that it was just me and nature. Zoo docents understand what I feel when I am handling animals, observing or interpreting at the Zoo, because they experience the same feelings as me love and respect for the animals.
Through-out the twenty-five years I have been associated with the Cleveland Zoo, I have seen how important the Cleveland Zoological Society is to the Zoo. I know donating to the Zoo Society will benefit the Zoo and further wildlife preservation, which is my heartfelt goal. I gain the most satisfaction from the endangered species programs and projects that support conservation of wildlife and the preservation of rare species. I can’t point to any one person or occasion that influenced my decision to donate. I chose to give to the society based on its efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and educate and recruit the public to become active in the Zoo’s mission.
I became a zoo docent in 1988 when the Zoo was much different than today. I soon found that I was in the company of wonderful people who had similar feelings for animals that I id. My first posting as a docent was for the golden monkeys on loan from China. The docents posting were issued special shirts and patches. It was an auspicious beginning for me and I was lucky enough ceremonies of The RainForest – it was an exciting and wonderful evening. I went on to spend many Sundays posting in The RainForest along with several docents from my original class. My favorite Zoo events were Holiday Lights and Boo at the Zoo.
My wife and I are both animal enthusiasts and we were blessed to acquire a little more than we required, it was never a question as to what we would do with our excess. The Zoo has provided me the opportunity to interact with many visitors, hopefully inf luencing them to become better stewards of our planet and the creatures thereon. A flood begins with one drop of rain, and I hope my gift will be one drop in a flood of support. I give from my heart, and my heart is with the wildlife. I want the children of tomorrow to be able to see species in the wild. I like to believe my small contribution can aid the Zoo’s mission and maybe help preserve a threatened species.