Kansas Wildlife Exhibit supporters on Saturday accepted a $100,000 donation that will fund improvements to the Kanas-themed habitat. The donor is the late Pamela J. Edwards, who left a trust benefitting pets. The trust is managed by local veterinarian Christin Skaer.
The gift was announced during a celebration in Central Riverside Park, near the exhibit at Stackman Drive and Nims. Attendees included Council Member Janet Miller; former City Council member Sharon Fearey and Skaer.
“I am thrilled to be able to help benefit the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit with Ms. Edwards kind donation,” Skaer said. “The Wildlife Exhibit has been near and dear to many Wichitans hearts and we are glad to see that upgrades will be made to the animals’ living environment.”
The Kansas Wildlife Exhibit has been a mainstay of Riverside Park since the early 1900s, serving as the city’s zoo until Sedgwick County Zoo opened in 1974 when the exhibit’s focus shifted to native Kansas animals. Current housed animals include a bobcat, a skunk, birds and Chapa the Beaver.
Friends of the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit, in partnership with Wichita Parks Foundation, have formed a committee to address long-term needs of the facility, including identification of funding sources. The new donation will provide seed money for some of that future work.
“We’re pleased with the response of the community, particularly with the eagerness of the Friends of the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit volunteers, as well as the generosity of this donor,” said Brent Thomas, Wichita Parks Foundation President. “Their efforts will go a long way towards ensuring necessary improvements are made and that future generations of Wichitans will be able to enjoy the exhibit.”
To learn more about the Wichita Parks Foundation and the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit, please visit www.WichitaParksFoundation.org.