Valeria Jackson, or “Val”, was a dedicated volunteer at the Zoo from 2000-2009. She served over 1,734 hours as a Docent at the Zoo and served as President of the Zoo’s Volunteer Organization. She volunteered often in the Lorikeet and Butterfly Aviaries. When she could no longer volunteer, Val was made “Volunteer Emeritus” at the Zoo’s Adult Volunteer Appreciation Party. Val held a special adoration for elephants, and frequently inquired when the Birmingham Zoo might once again be home to pachyderms. Val lived to see her hopes blossom into fruition and was able to enjoy a very special visit to the Zoo’s newest exhibit, Trails of Africa.
Jack Throp, a wonderfully committed volunteer, contributed 1,152 hours of volunteer service at the Birmingham Zoo from 2001-2006. He was especially helpful in organizing the Education Library and the Animal Records. In addition to volunteering at the Birmingham Zoo, Jack contributed substantially to zoos across the United States and Australia, serving as a Curator and later as a Director. He also served as Executive Director of the Alabama Zoological Society. Jack spent a brief time in Hollywood where he trained many of the animals used in the movie Swiss Family Robinson. His love for animals showed in all he did. Even after retiring from his zoo career, Jack shared his passion through his art and by writing a book filled with stories about some of the animals he had worked with.