Palm Beach Zoo volunteer stays young at heart


The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society just held a celebration that comes around about once a century. The zoo hosted a birthday party for one of its own – Palm Beach Zoo volunteer Esther Bondareff – who just turned 99 years young.

Bondareff has been volunteering at the zoo for more than two decades. She was honored in the zoo’s Tropics Café June 11 by family and staff members with a special lunch, cake, and a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Bondareff, who turned 99 on June 16, said she plans to continue her involvement through the Volunteer/Docent program. She served as chairwoman of the zoo’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 1994 and became qualified as a docent after 10 years of volunteering.

“The zoo keeps me going,” said Bondareff. “I don’t plan to stop, because I enjoy it so much. Whatever I can do to help the zoo, I plan to do.”

Zoo guests are likely to see Bondareff on Saturdays, welcoming them as they walk into the two daily wildlife presentations, “Wings Over Water” bird show and the “Wild Things Show.”

Pictured Above: Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society volunteer Esther Bondareff is surrounded by zoo staff at the zoo’s Tropics Café June 11 as friends and staff members gathered to celebrate Bondareff’s 99th birthday. Photo by Diane Bondareff

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