People and Animals Make the Zoo a Success 

By Marion Wainer, President of the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society 

As local non-profit annual appeal letters start filling our mailboxes, it seems that if all were well supported, our community would flourish and everyone would benefit; “a rising tide lifts all ships.” From attending many of the wonderful local events, working in the community, and talking with newcomers, I sense the tide IS rising!
The Marion Institute’s very successful Connecting for Change Conference celebrated their 10th year anniversary with many accomplishments. Since its beginning, the conference has hosted “14,000 attendees from 43 states and 22 countries, brought 109 keynote speakers including Nobel Prize winners, held 478 workshops and activities, and donated 548 trees to New Bedford.” This is a testament to all that is possible for our community when there is support.
This summer, Friends of the Park was also successful with their “Buttonwood on the Move” campaign to build new basketball courts. Congratulations and many thanks to all who contributed. Perhaps we should say “New Bedford is on the Move.”
As President of the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society, I would like to offer many thanks to the supporters of the zoo and share with you a few special “aha” moments from this year:

• Over 20,000 people attended the zoo without cost this year either through generous donors providing a “free day” or through library passes. Thank you to the Highland Foundation, Sheldon Friedland, and residents of New Bedford who helped bring families together for a special day!
• Workforce development “New Direction” teens worked with our staff this year tending to gardens and numerous other projects, learning new skills, and opening their eyes to future opportunities. Thank you for your help!
• High school and college interns pitched in all while exploring their passion for animal and veterinarian care.
• For all the young campers who attended our summer programs and got their feet wet, developing math, science and art skills in an informal environment – we hope you enjoyed your fun-filled days. You are our community’s future and we look forward to seeing you next summer!
• We saw an increase in attendance from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, hand -in -hand exploring with their children. Your attendance gives us support. Thank you for bringing your children to your local zoo.
• Young children and parents helped with the gardens while admiring the beauty of the flowers. Thank you to Home Depot, Pat and Richard George for plant contributions, Nan Sinton for your expertise and guidance, and the staff for constantly watering!
• With our new animal ambassador program, provided by private contributions, we reached out and touched the community!
• We continued to form new partnerships with local schools, businesses and other non-profits such as the Ocean Explorium; we’re growing stronger every day and we look forward to the future.

These are just a few examples of people pitching in to make a difference and a positive impact in our community. Whether you support the Buttonwood Park Zoo or another non-profit, I thank you, encourage you and appreciate everyone’s part in helping to raise the tide. 


As the twelfth oldest zoo in the United States, Buttonwood Park Zoo has a long tradition of serving the community. With your help we can continue enriching our community and the lives of our children for many years to come.

The Buttonwood Park Zoological Society (BPZS) is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the Buttonwood Park Zoo so that the Zoo will be a significant contributor to the conservation of nature both at home and throughout the world. In the current year, the BPZS is providing over $100,000 of direct support to the Zoo and producing over 20 family events.

Because of the BPZS’s commitment, thousands of children will learn about the natural sciences, the environment and the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation. In addition, the public events supported by the BPZS provide families a safe, affordable, and fun place to spend time together.

Please help us continue to connect people of all ages to nature!

Donations to the BPZS are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Corporate and business checks are permissible. There are many ways to donate – please see Ways to Give for more information. For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact the Director of Society Operations at (508) 991-4556 x 13.