BayCoast Bank has committed $250,000 to the Buttonwood Park Zoological Society in support of the new Animal Ambassador Building.

The zoo’s Animal Ambassador program started in 2014. The environmental education-based program introduces children and adults to wildlife through up-close exposure to animals. The education animals serve as ambassadors of their species and of wild animals in general, and stimulate interest and appreciation, dispel myths and fears, emotionally connect visitors to wildlife and stir all those they encounter to action.

The new building will provide indoor and outdoor housing for the animal ambassadors used in the zoo’s many environmental education programs and will be accessible to the public year-round. Included in the design of the building is a naturalistic outdoor encounter space built to provide the opportunity for learning and close-up observations between guests and animal ambassadors facilitated by education staff. The building, which will be open to zoo guests, will provide a permanent home for dozens of injured and/or orphaned native wildlife species that could not be released back to the wild.

"BayCoast Bank is happy to provide this donation, which it sees as part of its continuing mission to support community education," the bank said in a joint news release with the zoo.