News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
October 21, 2022
 NOTE: For photos, please contact the Public Relations Department.

Chicago Zoological Society Recognizes Its Dedicated 400 Volunteers

Brookfield, IL—On September 25, the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, celebrated its volunteers for their dedicated service. Returning after the pandemic, the zoo’s 400 adult volunteers contributed nearly 28,000 hours to the Society in 2021.

The evening featured the presentation of service and special awards to those who have generously contributed their time to Brookfield Zoo. Docent Frank Veselak of North Riverside was honored with the “Volunteer of the Year” award. During the event, service recognition awards were presented to 59 volunteers by Dr. Michael Adkesson, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society and director of Brookfield Zoo, and Jennifer Baader, senior vice president of government affairs. The volunteer engagement program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021, was founded by Edie Duckworth, a trustee of CZS.

The volunteers at Brookfield Zoo enhance zoogoers’ visits by providing fun and engaging first-hand experiences that celebrate wildlife and nature. The docents (volunteer educators) share their knowledge about animals and nature with zoo guests, while Guest Guides welcome the public at the zoo’s north and south entrances, answering questions and offering recommendations for a more satisfying visit. There are also, early childhood docents stationed in Hamill Family Play Zoo who assist staff with nature play activities for young children. Additionally, volunteers provide friendly smiles and wayfinding for the zoo’s many special events held throughout the year. Special projects, such as sorting, testing, and packing all the lights used during Holiday Magic, add variety to the many roles volunteers can participate in at Brookfield Zoo.

The program is a great opportunity for individuals who are passionate about animals and nature to engage in a meaningful volunteer service that transforms them into community conservation leaders and advocates for the Society, Brookfield Zoo, wildlife, and nature, as well as increasing their level of conservation literacy and action. New volunteer recruitment is expected to begin in summer 2023. Those interested in volunteer opportunities at Brookfield Zoo, can visit  for updated information beginning in February 2023. 

#      #      #

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.


Visit Brookfield Zoo

Create extraordinary connections with animals and nature!

Animal Welfare

You Can Help!

Become our partner in caring for animals and in connecting people with wildlife and nature.