Contact:  Tom Gillespie

ASHEBORO, N.C. -The North Carolina Zoo has awarded24volunteers with the President's Volunteer Service Award, a national honor offered in recognition of volunteer service.

Established in 2003, the award is given annually to individuals, groups and families who have met or exceeded requirements for volunteer service and have demonstrated exemplary citizenship through volunteering. As one of thousands of certifying organizations participating in the award program, the N.C. Zoo confers the award to recognize the outstanding achievements of its volunteers.

The zoo has a long history of volunteer service. During 2008, volunteers and service groups committed to more than 37,000 hours as exhibit interpreters, wildlife rehab volunteers, "kidZone" play guides, zoo hosts, gardeners, special events helpers, retail volunteers and more.

"In his 2002 State of the Union address, then-President George W. Bush created the USA Freedom Corps and called on every American to make a lifelong commitment to volunteer service," said Toy Jarrett, the zoo's volunteer services coordinator. "The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals and families who have answered that call.

"Volunteers are an integral part of the N.C. Zoo," Jarrett added. "And as a certifying organization for the award program, the N.C. Zoo is proud to be aligned with this prestigious volunteer award. We are especially proud of our volunteers, who have made volunteer service a central part of their lives.

"Despite record high fuel prices and an unstable economy, volunteers remained faithful to their commitments at the zoo," Jarrett continued. "Zoo volunteers are role models for all Americans."

For more information about volunteering for the N.C. Zoo, contact Toy Jarrett at 336-879-7712 or complete an online application at

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Dee Freeman, Secretary; Beverly Eaves Perdue, Governor.