About The Zoo Society

The Zoo Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit fundraising organization whose purpose is to lend financial support to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, WA. We provide support for Zoo and Aquarium exhibits, education programs, scientific research, conservation activities, animal care, and capital. Funds are generated through annual gifts, grants, individual donations, corporate support, and fundraising events.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) is the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. The 29-acre zoological park was established in 1905, and attracts about 700,000 visitors a year. It is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), which ensure rigorously high standards of animal welfare, veterinary care, conservation, education and more. The Zoo sits within the 700-acre Point Defiance Park, offering spectacular views of Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. PDZA is operated by Metro Parks Tacoma, the oldest independent park district in Washington.

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Icon of an elephant
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Our Vision

The Zoo Society engages our community in support of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s education, conservation, research and preservation efforts through the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Rim and beyond.

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Our Mission

To provide and promote financial and community support to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The Zoo Society supports PDZA in their efforts to promote responsible stewardship of earth’s limited resources through education, conservation, research, preservation and recreational opportunities.

Board of Directors

- President -
Mark Terry

Community Volunteer

- Vice President -
Jacquelyn Hoflich

Human Resource Consultant

- Secretary -
Larry Clark

Non-Profit Consultant

- Treasurer -
Nick Illario

Vandeberg, Johnson & Gandara, LLP

- Past President -
Matthew Schemp


- Executive Director -
Ruthann Howell

The Zoo Society

Jay Beck

Community Entrepreneur

Kim Burkes

Union Avenue Compounding Pharmacy

Benjamin Constance, MD, MBA

Washington Emergency Care Physicians

John Guadnola


Mark Hansen

Hinshaw’s Acura

Cameron Moorehead

Umpqua Bank

Kati O'Brien

Community Volunteer

Tyler Panagiotu

Virtual Media Studios

Paul Rudnick

Nature Conservancy

Patricia Schenk

Community Volunteer

Quinn Taylor

Pediatrics Northwest

Jay Beck Kim Burkes Larry Dahl John Guadnola Mark Hansen Cameron Moorehead

Paul Rudnick
Christopher Rye Quinn Taylor
Larry Clark
Tyler Panagiotu

Jay Beck, Kim Burkes, Larry Dahl, John Guadnola, Mark Hansen,
Jacquelyn Hoflich, Nick Illario, Sue Mauremann
Cameron Moorehead, Heather Parkinson-Firestine
Paul Rudnick, Christopher Rye, Quinn Taylor

Meet Our Staff

Ruthanne Howell, Executive Director of Tacoma Zoo and Aquarium Society

Ruthann Howell
Executive Director

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson
Senior Development Director

A beautiful jellyfish swims through the water.

Sean Cabigting
Development Manager