“Upkeep that is valued for animals and visitors”

Friends of Zoo Idaho (FOZI) is a dedicated group of volunteers that care about the zoo, its inhabitants, and visitors. FOZI members work on various projects to assist in the maintenance of the zoo so that the animals and visitors are safe.

Under the auspices of the Zoo Idaho Zoological Society (ZIZS), FOZI operates as a suborganization working exclusively with the zoo director and staff to provide quality workmanship in all assigned projects. FOZI‘s main purpose will be to provide an additional workforce to repair, clean, paint, power-wash, prepare exhibits, assist zookeepers and maintenance personnel, and perform duties as assigned.

All work will be under the direct supervision of the Zoo Director and assigned paid staff. Projects will be carefully reviewed and assigned to capable and trained volunteers. No project will be given to volunteers unable to physically perform tasks; or they feel uncomfortable with the task; or they are not fully trained.

FOZI will create its own leadership model and conduct training in safety with tools and machinery, painting/staining, landscaping, gardening, and other areas in the zoo that need volunteer work.

Annual waivers will be required and zoo training sessions will be needed each year.

FOZI saves the City of Pocatello considerable amount of capital by supplementing the workforce at the zoo.

Mission Statement

FOZI is an all-volunteer subgroup of Zoo Idaho Zoological Society dedicated to providing quality services and products for the zoo. FOZI was organized to assist management with maintaining a safe visitor experience, providing for the animals, reducing costs, creating a volunteer learning platform, and most importantly – to have fun.

The zoo provides a unique opportunity to learn about native wildlife through exhibits, classes, summer camps, and outreaches.

Throughout the year Zoo Idaho and Zoo Idaho Zoological Society present a variety of events to raise money to support zoo exhibit construction and maintenance and zoo programs. We are looking for sponsors to help us make each event a success! We are looking for both monetary sponsorships and volunteering sponsorships.

Vision Statement

FOZI endeavors to promote zoo and animal stewardship by allowing volunteer members hands on experiences with various projects within the zoo. Safety for animals and humans – both in harmony for continued operations and memorable visitations.


  • Sober. FOZI has a zero tolerance policy for drug and/or alcohol use. The use of alcohol or drugs is not permitted on Zoo grounds. Any individual determined to have used alcohol or drugs while on Zoo grounds or be under the influence while on Zoo grounds will be terminated immediately and not allowed to return and/ or participate in any FOZI assignment.
  • Eighteen years of age, unless accompanied by their parent or guardian. Younger children are allowed to work, under certain conditions, usually warranted by the difficulty of the project and the acting FOZI leader judgment at the time.
  • Team player. We cannot allow separate work actions – reckless behavior with tools, improperly working in a project, wandering off – working alone without permission or supervision. FOZI is a close-knit zoo group that works as a team or several teams – all for the same reason: to safely produce quality work and services.


  • No pets allowed.
  • No smoking tobacco products on the property of the zoo. Volunteers need to step away to a designated area if they have to partake in this smoking or chewing habit.
  • Cell phones are allowed – but constant texting/twittering/phone calls/gaming/whatever is a distraction to you, the animals, and others and it presents an unsafe situation. It is suggested that members put the phone on ‘airplane mode’ and receive calls in a discrete manor.
  • FOZI designated Field Directors/Crew Leaders have the final say on projects, disciplinary issues, and up to and including – removal (if necessary) of members from the worksite.

Code of Conduct and Ethics

  • FOZI does not discriminate against race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, handicap or disability or physical size. We welcome everyone that abides by our rules and regulations and code of ethics.
  • FOZI organization does not condone or tolerate any form of harassment rendered on any of its members, guests or citizens; this includes: off-colored jokes, weight assessments, sexual preferences, and general mean-spirited dialog. FOZI will not endure any kind of physical or verbal confrontations with its members or the public. Immediate disciplinary action will be administered, including removing the member from the project; or with the assistance of legal authority.
  • All members of FOZI are expected to act in a professional and courteous manner to other members and citizens.
  • All FOZI members are expected to arrive at the designated zoo area fully attired and equipped for outdoor zoo work.
  • All FOZI members behavior is to be moderated and language safeguarded at all times. No unruly behavior or foul language spoken. Remember, FOZI is in the public eye in this zoo setting.
  • FOZI does not allow any kind of bullying at events.
  • FOZI members will avoid conversations on religion, politics, gossip which generally leads to heated discussions or arguments.

What to Bring?

Obviously we will be working outside within the zoo. Comfortable work clothes is recommended and attire yourself for the weather of the day.

  1. Shirt – Long sleeve or t-shirt
  2. Trousers – better if on knees for work projects
  3. Head covering – FOZI ball caps will be earned and awarded
  4. Work shoes/boots – no open toed shoes/crocs/sandals et al
  5. Eye protection – sunglasses
  6. Work gloves
  1. Day pack
  2. Water bottle
  3. Snacks
  4. Sun block
  5. Handi-wipes or hand gel

Typical Work Session

3:00 PMAssemble volunteers conduct introductions, review rules for working at the zoo, safety talk, today’s SOW, record attendance
3:30 PMMove to worksite in zoo, retrieve/transport tools and/or volunteers, walk

Break into crews – some OJT if needed – begin work on assigned project

Volunteers take breaks as needed – all should have water and snacks

Later arrivals – find Directors – get assigned to crews

Work each project until completion – if not finished – clean up area for visitors
5:30 PMStart to wrap up work session, finish loose ends, gather all tools, proceed to gathering point, clean tools/store, status reports due, announce next work session and projects
6:00 PMDepart zoo complex

Benefits – Perks

Volunteering your time and energy for the zoo has some benefits and perks.

  • Free training
  • Enhance personal skill sets
  • Network with other volunteers/groups
  • Resume builder
  • Satisfying work
  • Work outside around animals and visitors
  • Helps City with lowering maintenance costs
  • Recognition with visitors
  • Patch/decal upon joining club
  • Earn t-shirt and ball cap
  • Become a member of Zoo Idaho Zoological Society
  • Additional training during winter months
  • Get-togethers

Note: T-shirts are awarded after 6 hours of volunteer work. Ball caps are earned after 12 hours. A yearly membership to ZIZS is earned after 9 hours work for a single member and 15 hours work for a family. ZIZS members are allowed free entrance to the zoo (certain conditions apply).

June 14, 2024

Hello Brush Masters,

We had another great time whacking the trails around the zoo with the limbs hanging down in the trail. Also, dead snags and limbs were taken care of by us. It was hotter than last week, but we were in the shade a lot and did not notice the heat. Excellent work in such short time! We helped Roger with his project – back of exhibit space clearing for the squirrel exhibit. We may be assisting Roger next week with just that project – installing wooden slats for shade.

Photos show just how much we cleared.

Another note: Three members [Katherine, Chris, Lisa] earned their shirts this week and promptly put them on. We look good out there! Some other members will be getting ZIZS membership soon!

ACE hardware awarded us a gift certificate. Need to pick it up today. More good news – Sand Trap owner – Cory allowed us the 20% on all food items. So we are picking some good perks around town.

Two more whacks and then we take 4th of July off [it is on a Thursday].

Peter is out of town a lot in July, but promises that we will have some new and exciting projects all the way up to 1 Nov and maybe beyond [have to see about the weather].

More stuff to follow -stand by,


Bob Johnson

June 7, 2024

Greetings and Mindful 80 years since D-Day,

Hot – but we did some awesome work last night!
Welcome two new members to new club – Chris and Lisa Collins!

Hat went out to Matt Shugert and shirt to his daughter – Juliana – congrats! Now you are fully attired!

We looked great last night in all our shirts and hats and so it should be as it gives us high visibility with the community looking on and when we go out afterwards to enjoy ourselves. Remember, we are a social club too – not all work all the time.

WOW – that middle section with concrete wall behind visitors center has needed some attention for some time and it looks fabulous now. The zoo keepers can see all the way through as well as the visitors. The sign is readable, the bad grasses are removed, limbs taken up and dumped into the truck. Then we dispatched some sucker plants that like to invade the fence line. That whole section by the deer/turkey exhibit looks great now thanks to eight members and one working manager….

Lastly, we went outside the zoo and worked on pulling grasses and weeds, dead bushes, picking up trash and hiding the water lines with gravel.

All in three hours, we beautified the zoo and moved us on to more projects. Everything we do helps the zoo look better and saves time and money. Many thanks for all that worked through that sun last night.

See you all next week, stay healthy, hydrated and happy,

We may be doing more trimming and weeding.
Note: you can bring your own tools at this time if you choose.

Bob Johnson

May 31, 2024

Hello members and newcomers!

Quick note – waivers and applications are needed at the website to be filled out please. Also, please read all the tabs we have set up about the organization and our operating procedures.

Great day today and last night! We finished another project #3 – the railing/post around the bird cages! Many thanks to all that participated in this three whack event. Thanks for the extra push today from Matt and Juliana [daughter]. We put in 2 hours and installed an additional 5 posts and 10 rails to complete the project.

Next Thursday we will be brushing – trimming suckers and bushes around the zoo. So come prepared for that.

Project report:

Installed: 25 log posts at 20″ depth
Tagged on: 45 horizontal rails

39 total volunteer hours

Thanks again for making the zoo better!

See you all soon!

Bob Johnson

May 26, 2024

Greetings Members,

We just finished one of the largest staining projects at the zoo by all accounts – the Childrens Treehouse and again – thank you all for your time and effort on this project.

We are now locked in on a new project of removing posts and railing at the bird cage area and replacing with taller round posts and railing. We may be staining the rails but not the posts. Other work may be brushing out invading plants coming through the fence, weeding and trim work.

Our group last Thursday evening put in 7 posts and and 14 rails all within 3 hours work and then we retired over at Off-the-rails for some fun. Many thanks to all that came out. We are focused on getting this new project done possibly by the 1st June – free pass day.

Just a reminder that we have two forms to fill out – application and waiver. Also please try to use signupgenius [link below] to sign up for work sessions.
I encourage all members to read all the stuff we have posted on the webpage. www.zooidaho.org/fozi


Photos are posted weekly on the link below and you can check out our webpage often for missed reports.


We are off to a good start this year with two projects completed – Bison Shade Structure [staining only] and Childrens Treehouse. We can proudly say that we are making a difference at the zoo.

More fun and more work,


Bob Johnson

May 21, 2024

Great news!

We are finished with the children’s tree-house at the zoo. Many thanks to all that threw stain and did other tasks to get this project complete. Connie, Aaron, Matt Khan, and myself finished the staining on Sunday for the last 5.5 hours.

There is a few things left that the zoo will need to fix – pole replacement, capping the 16 poles to stop weathering and cracking the poles, slide replacement, pulling out the decking at the entrance, new sand and more.

The place will look brand new dues to our efforts in revitalizing this wonderful 20+ year old structure built by the Pocatello Rotary Club. The structure is well built and designed to last decades. It needed some work to maintain the safety for the children using it.

It was painful to turn away so many children over the last month, but the tree-house is now safe to use. There were some floor boards and railings that needed replacing and sanding the handrails for smoothness.

Here are some facts and report:

  • Project started on 11 April and finished 19 May. We were hoping for 1st of May – but weather held us up a lot.
  • Four sessions of power-washing the entire structure
  • Five sessions of caulking – strictly caulking and foaming large cracks in the poles and on knees caulking the floor boards where needed
  • Two sessions of replacing wood – zoo maintenance and thanks!
  • Thirteen sessions of staining every thing – all bare wood – two coats – high and low
  • Twenty-three gallons stain used
  • Fifty-four tubes of painters caulk used
  • Fourteen cans of Great Stuff foam applied
  • 602 ‘spindles’ painted – both levels
  • Thirteen steps – repaired,caulked and stained
  • Sixteen telephone poles caulked or foamed – then stained
  • And finally – 199 volunteer hours put in on this project!

Our new volunteer group is on its way to making a dent into some of the needed projects to make our zoo look fresh and inviting and most importantly – safe for the visitors and animal residents.

Again – Job well done – Bravo Zulu!

More to come…this Thursday we are working on a railing system around caged bird exhibit. May include wood working and staining. If we finish early, there will be some weeding and gardening type work for us.

Don’t forget to sign up for coming events!


Bob Johnson

May 2, 2024

Greetings FOZI members,

FOZI [Friends of Zoo Idaho] officially got underway on April 1st this year and we are busy. FOZI has secured three good hours each week [Thursdays from 3 – 6 pm] to work inside the zoo with some visitor interaction, but after 4 pm we are on our own. There is no real issue here as FOZI works with the public and the animals. Our goal as you may have read on the web-page is to provide additional maintenance in improving the surroundings for people and animals. We want the zoo to be a safe and fun place for visitors and to provide a lasting impression of a well kept zoo. FOZI also works some Saturdays for longer hours.

Our first project was staining the Bison Shade Shelter which is on the top level near the Grisly exhibit. The one bison has been needing a new shelter to get out of the rain and sun. Roger Anderson and Peter Pruett constructed the shelter. FOZI just put the stain on in two trips.

Another project was started right after the shelter – the children’s fort with the slide located up from the barn in the central area. This structure was built by the Rotary Club many years ago and requires periodic staining. Some of the boards needed replacing due to rotting conditions. The ‘fort’ needed a lot more maintenance this year as the stain was completely gone in some areas. Four days of power-washing was done on the entire structure, followed by foaming most all large cracks/gaps in the poles holding up the fort, floor boards and more. Over 45 tubes of caulk and 10 cans of Great Stuff – foam has been used to ‘finger’ in smaller cracks/gaps. Extensive sanding happened thereafter and all the edges of wood that children mi9ght touch were rounded off with a belt-sander. Finally, FOZI members were able to throw stain on the menacing spindles and other wood parts. Two coats of stain have been applied to the wood eager to absorb it. The bottom floor is almost done as of May 4th.

In addition to re-staining, the structure will be capped with tin plates to stop the downward rot of the exposed poles. Weather has not been our friend as the zoo planned on the fort to be open on May 1st. All the setbacks and delays will cause the fort to be finished probably by the end of May.

FOZI also cleaned the ground along the sides of the structure with limbing the existing trees, clearing the ground and making it safe for children to go around the entire structure.

Many thanks to Connie Johnson, the wife and our 1st newest member – Dean Rose with all their staining hours on this project. Dean has earned his ball cap and t-shirt already, but like the rest of us, we are not wearing those items on the this project.

PROJECT 1 | Staining the Bison Shade Shelter
PROJECT 2 | Refreshing the Children’s Fort
PROJECT 3 | Bird Cage Railings
PROJECT 5 | Brushing

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Annual Waiver

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Friends of Zoo Idaho
Attn: Bob Johnson, FOZI Coordinator
3101 Avenue of the Chiefs
Pocatello, ID 83204