Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Community Comes Together Once Again With Generous Donation to the Henry Vilas Zoo

December 06, 2011
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
County Executive

In Photo From Right to LeftCounty Executive Joe Parisi, Caroline Pope, Jo Hoffman, Interim Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz, Former Zoo Director Jim Hubing, Chris Hamacher, and Kimberly Carrigan.



Thanks to the effort of a dedicated group of zoo supporters, the Henry Vilas Zoo has nearly $24,000 more in its Animal Welfare Fund, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Monday.  The zoo’s animal welfare fund goes directly to the health and well being of the animal inhabitants of the Henry Vilas Zoo.  Animal welfare funds help cover habitat and enrichment supplies that contribute to an animal’s high quality of life at the zoo.


“I want to offer my deepest thanks to this group for their efforts.  Time and again our community has come together to support our zoo,” said Parisi.  “That dedication is what keeps our zoo free for families while allowing zoo staff to provide top-notch animal care and conservation that is recognized world-wide.”


The group of zoo supporters, Chris Hamacher, Kimberly Carrigan, Jo Hoffman and Caroline Pope worked over the summer to plan and host their own September fundraising event – “Party Like an Animal.”  The event brought people together from throughout the community to the zoo for a fun evening in support of animals throughout the zoo.  The first event was so successful the group is hoping it make it an annual fundraiser. 


One of the event organizers, Caroline Pope, said the event process helped the group understand and appreciate the animal education and conservation efforts the zoo provides.  “I always thought the zoo was a unique asset, to have a free zoo so that all of us, young and old, could benefit from it's programs; but it's even more than that.”


Interim Zoo Director Ronda Schwetz also applauded the group for their efforts, “This event exemplifies how amazing it is, and what can be accomplished, when a talented group of people get together for a common cause. The animals will benefit greatly from the efforts of all who organized this event.”


Schwetz noted that another key component to the zoo’s success is its large and committed group of volunteers, including those who serve as honorary zoo keepers.  Schwetz recognized Kristen Colletti, Monica Dunn, Susan Foster, Traci Goll, Amy Hegenbarth, Jodi Kowalski, Diane Lin, Pat Miller, Ellyn Mohs, Delight Oelerich, Angie Powers, Jenny Pyle, Barb Scharpf, and Tena Wild for their commitment to the zoo.

The public can visit their free zoo from 9:30am to 5:00pm 365 days a year.  More information about the zoo and its event can be found online at

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