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Featured Volunteers

Volunteers posing for the camera
Harriet Stepner and Michael Stepner (Photo by Jamie Pham)

2023 Shining Star Award: Harriet Stepner

The Shining Star Award honors a General Volunteer who is committed, positive, and goes above and to support the Zoo, GLAZA, and the Volunteer Department.

Hariet Stepner is incredibly dedicated. She has averaged over two hundred hours of service per year (more than double the required commitment) for many years. She is also one of the most dutiful Orangutan Watchers, and her comforting presence there is the quickest way to put any animal or visitor at ease.

That is not to mention the slew of new responsibilities that Harriet has recently taken on, such as helping to re-open the Bird Show, supporting special events like the Beastly Ball, and mentoring some of our young, new, and special needs volunteers, all of which she does with the utmost pleasantness and professionalism.

Above all, Hariet is reliable. She possesses an extraordinary ability to keep calm and composed, even in the face of challenges, and she never enters the office without a smile. Wherever she goes, she brings a sense of tranquility and stability that is never unnoticed or unappreciated.

It’s clear that her passion for the Zoo and its inhabitants is unmatched, except maybe by her other award-winning half… Please join us in congratulating this year’s Shining Star recipient: Harriet Stepner!

2023 Silver Star Award: Michael Stepner

The Silver Star Award honors a Docent or Specialist who is committed, positive, and goes above and to support the Zoo, GLAZA, and the Volunteer Department.

This year’s Silver Star is awarded to Michael Stepner, who has generously shared almost 3,100 volunteer hours with the LA Zoo in the past 8 years. While on paper he is a “Weekday Docent,” he has regularly been spotted in the Zoo on virtually every day of the week…and on some weeks, literally EVERY day of the week. 

Since graduating from the Provisional Docent Class, Michael has been impressing patrons, members, donors, fellow docents & volunteers, and GLAZA staff. 

Michael is a Renaissance Man helping with Special Needs Outreach, College Primate Tours, Animals & You, Virtual Field Trips, Advancement Cart Tours, Food Prep, Community Outreach, School Tours, Special Events, Member Tours, Methodology Workshops, Mentoring…the list goes on and on. He always has a smile to share and can put a positive spin on the most challenging of situations. 

Michael is almost always able to jump in at the last minute and save the day when plans go awry. Please join us in congratulating this year’s Silver Star recipient, Michael Stepner!