Donor Stories



Cady Moris

Network for Nature Young Professional


“The Network has offered a great opportunity to meet new, like-minded people who are all at the same stage in life. Being involved with something local is important and it really aligns with my conservation interests.”

Cady is a Seattle native and has fond memories of coming to Woodland Park Zoo as a young girl. “I attended Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bellevue and for our congé (day off), we once had a trip to the zoo.” Her interests in animals and the outdoors ultimately led Cady to study Environmental Policy and Management at university. After some exceptional internships at Nature Bridge, the Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters, Cady landed a position at Holland America Group in their Environmental Compliance Program. There, she is able to monitor the environmental impact of her organization and suggest improvements.

After her mother Marylou Brannan attended Woodland Park Zoo’s renowned Jungle Party fundraiser in 2016, she told Cady about the zoo’s new young professionals group called Network for Nature. Cady is a natural for this group and soon became an integral member helping with the Networks’ event team and is now serving as the Conservation Chair. “The Network has offered a great opportunity to meet new, like-minded people who are all at the same stage in life. Being involved with something local is important and it really aligns with my conservation interests.”

Supporting Woodland Park Zoo means a great deal to Cady. She is proud of her hometown zoo’s conservation efforts and naturalistic exhibits. “The Species Survival Plan at the zoo is an immense, ongoing effort to counteract the extinction of species – I wish more people understood what this work means.” Cady talks about the zoo’s great, forward-thinking projects and the education programs, especially with a focus on access. “Making the zoo even more affordable and the creation of a new payment plan for Network for Nature memberships shows that access and inclusion are real priorities for the zoo’s leadership.”

Cady’s favorite moment during her Network for Nature involvement is a special event at Banyan Wilds with our Malayan tigers. “The animal care staff were able to have Eko stand on his hind legs, not for tricks, but to show how they are then able to perform a health check on him. This offered us the most up close experience you’ll ever be able to engage in with a tiger - it was truly awe-inspiring.” When not having close encounters with 250 pound tigers, Cady can be found practicing Oula (a high energy dance workout class), hiking or checking out Seattle’s local festivals. Keep on dancing Cady, and we are so thrilled to have you on board as a Network for Nature leader!


Coco Maddison

Junior Philanthropist


“You can do one small thing, but then it grows.”

Coco is a vivacious little girl with bouncing brown curls, a bright smile, and the drive and caring personality to match. In her seven years on this planet, Coco has shown that she definitely acts when she cares about something.

Like tigers and giraffes.

When Coco learned that tigers are an endangered species, she wanted to do something about it and let people know. With the help of her mother Zola, she set out to host a booth at the Wallingford Farmers Market at which she gave away her drawings of tigers to local shoppers while asking for a donation in return. Coco made it a priority to have a big map with her, so she could actually show her customers the tigers’ habitats and the countries in which these striking animals are endangered. All of the funds that she raised at the market went directly to the Woodland Park Zoo-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation Partnership.

After her fundraising success, Coco then focused her efforts on giraffes. This time, she asked all of her guests at her next birthday party to make a donation to the Giraffe Conservation Center in Nairobi, Kenya, instead of bringing a birthday gift for her. Through this endeavor, she raised $400, which enabled her to assist in the support of five giraffes. Because of her example, many of Coco’s friends then felt inspired to do the same at their birthday parties!

Coco has always had a love for animals. In fact, last summer she attended a camp called “Get set to be a vet,” during which she was able to explore her passion for becoming a veterinarian. Coco had the opportunity to dissect owl pellets and even a sheep’s eye. This second grader is certainly brave!

When not fueling her passion for animals, Coco can be found playing soccer and tennis, riding her bike to the park, and practicing her art. She’s also a huge reader with a special preference for the Magic Treehouse and Little House on the Prairie book series. She’s already a world traveler, having visited France, the Netherlands and Australia, where she was lucky enough to see the quokka – a small marsupial found in Western Australia deemed the “happiest animal in the world” because of its constant grin. Coco seems to be a pretty happy kid herself, declaring that she is the most content when she is able to play with her friends.

When asked what she would wish for if she could have just one, Coco said that she wished “we could have better care for animals in some places in the world.” She also said that through her experiences she has learned that “you can do one small thing, but then it grows.”

Yes Coco, you are absolutely right, small things can definitely grow and make the world a better place. You are proof of that!


Geraldine Mock

Jungle Party Volunteer for 42 years!


“I started out working at the silent auction and with set up, and then I settled on running the bank for the last fifteen years.”

At eighty-four years of age, Geraldine Mock is a force for nature. Among her many accomplishments, she counts volunteering for half of her life at every single one of Woodland Park Zoo’s forty-two Jungle Party events. She is a treasure and walking history about the zoo’s signature outdoor gala.

In 1973, Geraldine was first introduced to the zoo through her job as an x-ray technologist. She worked at a mobile x-ray company that offered their services to the veterinarians to help with caring for the zoo’s animals. Geraldine immediately put her hand up to take on this assignment. “Some of the other technicians were afraid to work with the animals, but I guess having grown up on a farm in Minnesota made me comfortable with it all.” She was able to help with x-rays on gorillas, turtles, eagles and even some snakes. After this exciting initiation into the zoo and its world class animal welfare, it was a natural decision to start volunteering. Geraldine has worked at spring, Halloween and ZooTunes concert events over the years, but her favorite is Jungle Party. “I started out working at the silent auction and with set up, and then I settled on running the bank for the last fifteen years.” Geraldine remembers the summer event being casual early on, but appreciates that it is now a premier event in the Seattle area and has matched that reputation with first class menus and elegant décor within the dining tent. “Every year has been different, but equally as much fun,” Geraldine said. She even bid on a pair of Georgia Gerber bronze loons one year and despite not being successful, she declared that she still had the best time.

Geraldine is definitely not one to sit still. After retiring from her full-time position, she worked two days per week at the King County jails performing x-rays. “Everyone needs x-rays and I found it rewarding” she said. Since retiring fully this past year, Geraldine has been busy with coordinating activities at her church, volunteering at the Washington Park Arboretum, attending Seahawks and Sonics games and being a regular patron of the 5th Avenue Theatre. She also loves to bake and treats her friends often to her dessert creations.

Geraldine is currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, but her cheerful energy, vivaciousness and incredible attitude are sustaining her through this period. She is aiming to be at her 43rd Jungle Party in 2019, and we are right behind her on that one! You are a true delight Geraldine, and we thank you for your dedication to our zoo and all of your tireless work to make Jungle Party a success year after year.


Lillian Hagener Bell


“My grandmother was a smart, gracious and loving person. She felt that it was our responsibility to provide for wild animals and make others conscious of animals that are in danger of becoming extinct.”

Lillian Hagener Bell was a trailblazer in many ways. From her beginnings in Silverdale, Washington as part of the first set of twins born in that region, to her decision to enter the Marine Corps in the 1950’s, Lillian was a leader right from the start.

After years of working as a telephone operator with her twin sister, Lila, she decided that she wanted to get out and experience the world. Lillian went on to become one of the first five females to attend drill instructor training, achieved the esteemed ranking of Lieutenant Colonel, and served on numerous military trials throughout her distinguished thirty-six-year career in the Marines.

Sunshine Voss, Lillian’s granddaughter, recalls her love of learning. She was very educated for her time, with a Bachelors’ degree in history and a Masters’ degree in education. “She just adored books with hundreds or maybe thousands of them stacked floor to ceiling in her home. She had every dictionary ever published which she used for her daily crossword puzzles.”

Lillian eventually settled in Oceanside, California with her husband, William Bell. And while Lillian didn’t have children of her own, she was extremely close to Sunshine and her great-granddaughter. Lillian also developed a special bond with her foreign exchange student from Japan, Tamami Wada. “They spent every Christmas holiday together and Tamami received the flag at Lillian’s funeral service.”

While Lillian was a strong and determined woman, she also had a playful side. “She really liked sports cars and driving fast” Sunshine remembers. “She would change into a muumuu made by her sister after wearing her military uniform all day, put on her flip flops, and literally let her hair down!”

Along with her love of learning (and fast cars!), Lillian had an exceptional attachment to animals. From her work on the farm as a young girl, to her own house cats, to the bears at the zoo, Lillian always appreciated the wonder and magic that animals brought to the world. Sunshine recalls many trips to Woodland Park Zoo where she said that family and friends would continually come away having learned something from Lillian about conservation. “She had an awareness about the importance of the preservation of our wild animals, and she passed that on to whoever she was with.”

“My grandmother was a smart, gracious and loving person. She felt that it was our responsibility to provide for wild animals and make others conscious of animals that are in danger of becoming extinct.” Thank you, Sunshine, for sharing your memories of your wonderful grandmother, and thank you Lillian for your generosity. Your gift will help Woodland Park Zoo to carry on your message of conservation and saving wildlife.


Marc Sherman

Jungle Party Auction Volunteer Leader


"It’s important to support an organization that you believe in—that’s how they survive. And giving of my time is my way of showing support.”

Marc Sherman is no stranger to auctions. He has been involved with numerous Seattle charities and their fundraising events over the years including Patrons of Northwest Civic, Cultural and Charitable Organizations (PONCHO), the Northwest Chamber Choir, the Seattle Humane Society’s Tuxes & Tails, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, among them. He even met his wife at an auction! But he keeps coming back to Woodland Park Zoo’s Jungle Party each year and has been an integral part of the volunteer corps for more than twenty-five years.

Over the years, he has embraced many different functions, from working on the stage crew, to delivering auction items (such as a children’s playhouse!), to helping out with vendor contracts. Marc even co-chaired the event in the late 90’s with Andrea Blukis and Michael Kranda. Although he felt a bit out of his element that year, Marc says he has enjoyed every single role he has ever played and delights in being a part of the whole process. “Seeing the auction change each year and evolve with the times, and watching the beautiful and creative themes that are presented, make this a pleasure to devote my time to.” Now, as the Volunteer Operations Chair, Marc works closely with the Jungle Party event manager to make sure everything runs seamlessly. He usually gets started with the planning in January, with work ramping up in April continuing all the way until to the night of the event in July. “It’s important to support an organization that you believe in—that’s how they survive. And giving of my time is my way of showing support.”

His memories are many, but some of Marc’s Jungle Party highlights include Betty White’s attendance at the event as an animal conservation champion in 1997, the time that a car was driven straight into the dining tent as a surprise auction item and a particularly nerve-wracking year when the weather did not cooperate and the skies put on a spectacular show of thunder and lightning. Marc has a special fondness for Jungle Party and will continue working on it indefinitely. “The volunteers are so passionate about their work; it’s really inspiring,” Marc said adding that he felt very lucky to be around this group each year.

When not working on the auction, Marc can be found on the hills of Alpental as a volunteer ski patrol member, enjoying bike riding around Seattle and spending time with his family. He learned to give back to the local community from his parents and he is passing this on to his own children. “It’s how our community organizations stay vital.” That’s definitely true Marc, it’s people like you who keep our Jungle Party event dynamic and vibrant each and every year.


Susie Wyckoff


“My in-laws were so proud of Woodland Park Zoo, and especially the African Savanna—it was incredible.”

Susie Wyckoff is a board member extraordinaire. She has served three terms from 2010 – 2018 and has been one of the Woodland Park Zoo board’s key members with her background in wildlife biology. This knowledge of animals and the importance of conservation made her a natural choice to serve on the Animal Care committee and even to help educate her fellow board members. “It really has fed my passion for biology and the animal world,” she said of her role.

While still living in California, Susie would take trips up to Seattle to see her parents-in-law at the time. They would bring Susie and her children to the zoo. This is when she first came to see the naturalistic exhibits for which Woodland Park Zoo is known. “My in-laws were so proud of Woodland Park Zoo, and especially the African Savanna—it was incredible.” When she moved to Seattle permanently, she started to become more involved with the zoo and eventually, through her sister-in-law Sheila Wyckoff-Dickey, Susie became a board member herself.

The animal and conservation world has always been prominent for Susie and her family in a profound way. Living on a ranch in California raising cattle (and watermelons!), there were countless opportunities to teach her four daughters about wildlife and nature. Lessons were always taking place in the Wyckoff house, whether it be performing dissections on deceased animals found on their property for friends and their children, or learning about the environment and being aware of changes in our climate. Susie also thought it was extremely important for her children to experience other cultures and learn that not all people lived as they do in the United States. “We took the kids to developing countries, and twice deep into the rainforest—we wanted them to understand our place on the globe and our standard of living compared with most places, and to learn empathy and compassion.”

Susie is delighted that the zoo is taking steps towards sustainability and “cleaning our own house first,” through initiatives such as the removal of single use plastic water bottles on zoo grounds and our “plastic free for me” campaign. She is also excited that the zoo’s new strategic and operational plans emphasize our role as a wildlife conservation organization, an example of sustainability and our work to educate future generations.

As Susie’s board term comes to an end and she transitions into a Community Advisor role, she reflects on her biggest accomplishments. She proclaims that she is not one to speak up in front of groups, but she did move beyond this and make a presentation about climate change and our carbon footprint. “It’s not always the most popular topic, but I did it and I’m proud of that. I really believe that when you know something, you share something.” You are absolutely right Susie, and we at Woodland Park Zoo would like to share that we think you have been a leading member of our board and hope to continue our work with you for many years to come.