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Zoo Foundation Receives Major Estate Gift

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (October 12, 2011) – Lynn French was a quiet and humble woman but when it came to speaking about the Little Rock Zoo or its animals Lynn was animated, passionate, and even funny.  So when Zoo Docent President Wendie Weare learned of Lynn’s generous gift to the Zoo after her unexpected death last September, it didn’t surprise her that Lynn left her entire estate to the Arkansas Zoological Foundation for the Education Department at the Zoo.

“Lynn had a passion and a love for the Zoo that was unmatched.  She lived for animals and loved volunteering for the Zoo.  Lynn also took the time to get to know every keeper and staff member at the Zoo and she knew each of them by name.  She was like a butterfly that fluttered from place to place spreading happiness.  Every person at the Zoo was touched or taken care of by Lynn,” said Weare.

The total amount bequeathed to the Arkansas Zoological Foundation and the Little Rock Zoo totals $223,632.62.  Instructions of the Living Trust document state that all funds be used for the Zoo’s Education Department.  Zoo Animal and Education Curator, Mark Shaw, said Lynn’s love for the Zoo, its animals and the staff was incredible and that her spirit will live on through the many friends she made during her years as a docent.

“Lynn was everyone’s friend.  Although she seemed shy at first, once she got to know you she would talk quite openly and freely.  Her sometimes dry sense of humor would add a good chuckle to just about any situation,” added Shaw.   

Lynn French became a docent in 2000 after her husband passed.  Her time was spent volunteering as a docent in the Zoo’s Education Department.  Lynn would travel to classrooms with animals and would help take care of the Zoo’s education animals.  Her favorite animal was the ferret.  She loved the ferret’s fun-loving personality and funny antics.  In honor of Lynn, the Zoo named its newest ferret in her namesake and hopes to always keep a ferret named Lynn in the future.

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information, visit