The man who has helped Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park grow over the past 35 years is ready to retire.
Gary Geddes, 66, announced this week that he will leave his position as Metro Parks Tacoma’s director of zoological and environmental education Jan. 9.
He said will continue working as a volunteer and will spend more time with his family and in the outdoors.
“Although I am leaving one conservation organization of which I am extremely proud, I will remain active in the community and find new ways to participate in the protection of wildlife and the environment,” Geddes said in a statement.
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“Most importantly, I’ll have more time to spend with my family, particularly my growing grandchildren.”
Metro Parks has not yet decided how or when to fill Geddes’ position.
Under Geddes’ tenure, the attendance for the zoo rose from 510,000 to a record-setting 732,208. Northwest Trek also set an annual attendance record with 217,926 this month. The record continues to grow every day.
Jack Wilson, executive director of Metro Parks, praised Geddes’ commitment to the community, to wildlife conservation and to his staff.
“Gary Geddes has made a significant contribution to this community as a result of his leadership and dedication to the mission of Northwest Trek and Point Defiance Zoo,” Wilson said. “These two facilities are among the very best accredited zoos in the nation.”
Both zoos earned a reputation for conservation under Geddes’ leadership.
Northwest Trek twice was awarded the North American Conservation Award for programs to save the endangered Oregon spotted frog and the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit.
Point Defiance Zoo partners with several international efforts to save endangered species, including the red wolf, Sumatran tigers and clouded leopards.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653