When it officially opened in 1920, Potter Park Zoo became Michigan’s first public zoo and has continued to provide visitors with the opportunity to understand the importance of science and nature for almost a century. Situated on nearly 100 acres and featuring more than 600 animals representing 160 different species, Potter Park Zoo is one of Lansing’s greatest assets.
“Each day at Potter Park we work to inspire people to become better stewards of our natural world,” said Zoo Director Sherrie Graham. “Each exhibit, education program and conservation project at the zoo is working to this end.”
The creation of the Potter Park Zoological Society took place in 1969, with a mission to inspire individuals of all ages to learn and commit to the continued care of animals and the habitats that they live in.
Originally titled, the Friends of the Zoo Society, the goal of founder, Jim Hough, was to bring together local residents in order to make much-needed improvements on the zoo. Graham said that even today the zoo facilities continue to become even better through the collaboration with national organizations and community partners.
In 1986, the organization’s name was changed to the Potter Park Zoological Society and the society first began its Docent Association. The goal of the society has always remained the same — “to inspire and engage children, students, teachers and others among the general public to make a positive impact on the natural world around them.”
Today, the Potter Park Zoological Society consists of more than 130 volunteers.
For donation information and more on becoming involved with the Potter Park Zoological Society, visit their website at www.potterparkzoo.org.
Some of the society’s key fundraisers are through their membership program, using fundraising activities and by organizing family events and educational programs.
“Without the tremendous support we receive from our community, we wouldn’t be the world class zoo we have become,” added Graham. “We are very grateful for this and will always work to be a strong partner in the community.”