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Zoo Foundation Announces Major Donation for Education

LITTLE ROCK (March 3, 2010) – The Arkansas Zoological Foundation announced at its annual meeting today that the Laura P. Nichols Foundation will fund a two-year education program at the Little Rock Zoo with a donation of $150,000. 

The donation will fund two staff positions in the Zoo’s Education Department, a program director and program assistant, who will conduct the “Wild Wonders AnimalShow” at the Civitan Amphitheater stage every Saturday and Sunday starting in May. The show will feature two South African penguins in anticipation of the grand opening of the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit in the fall of 2010, as well as several other mammals, free flying birds, and a few reptiles. 

The donation also sponsors the Zoo to You outreach program that takes animals and education programs into schools and other organizations outside the Zoo’s gates. The two penguins featured in the Wild Wonders Animal Show will also be available for Zoo to You outreach programs, as well, starting in September of 2010.

The Nichols Foundation donation also purchases public announcement systems for several areas of the Zoo so that keepers can conduct regular keeper chats. 

Zoo Director Mike Blakely was excited to make the announcement saying that this generous donation helps the Little Rock Zoo fulfill its mission to provide fun educational experiences that inspire people to conserve the natural world. 

A full schedule of the Wild Wonders Animal Show will be available in May at 

The Arkansas Zoological Foundation also elected officers at its annual meeting including Chuck Spohn, chairman, Dan Fowler, vice-chairman, Robin Henson, secretary, and Hatim Smouni, treasurer. Anton Janik was also elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the foundation. 

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit