Young man donates hard-earned money to Point Defiance

Anthony Newlander is a regular visitor at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Now he’s becoming one of the zoo’s most revered donors.

The 14-year-old Spanaway boy is donating $100 to The Zoo Society Antique Carousel Brick Campaign.

Newlander, who has Downs Syndrome, saved the money from his weekly job at a Tacoma therapy office; he earns $5 a week.

He presented a cashier’s check to Zoo Society representatives Tuesday afternoon, in the zoo’s North Pacific Aquarium.

The $100 is the price of a brick for The Zoo Society’s carousel fund-raising campaign. The Paul Titus Antique Carousel is scheduled to open in 2006.

The Zoo Society is raising funds to build a pavilion for the carousel.
The restored mechanism of the 1917 two-row C.W. Parker carousel was donated to The Zoo Society, and the Washington Antique Carousel Society is carving Washington State horses and endangered animals for the carousel.

To date, The Zoo Society has raised $724,000 toward a goal of approximately $1.5 million for the carousel project.

Newlander, an eighth-grader at Cedarcrest Junior High School in Spanaway, has been visiting the zoo since he was 5 years old.

His mother, Maggie Newlander, recalls sitting with Anthony for hours on end in front of the zoo’s shark and tropical fish tanks because they calmed his seizure activity.

He has been regularly saving money, and decided to support the Carousel Project after seeing an article about the fund-raising campaign in The Society’s ZooPoints magazine, said his dad, Jim Newlander.

“All the money he gets, he’s really good about putting it away,” he said. “He’s been saving since he was small. This is the very first big purchase he’s made.”

Kathleen Olson, executive director of The Zoo Society, was quite touched by Anthony’s gift. “He’s a remarkable young man,” she said.

Olson also pointed out that the young man’s name will always be associated with the zoo because his name will be on a brick at the carousel pavilion.

“Because the zoo is such a special place for him, it’s nice to know there will be such a lasting impression of his generosity,” she said. “His name will always be here.”

Newlander, who does odd jobs at Tacoma Therapy, where he receives speech therapy each week, is already saving for another big-ticket purchase.

He plans to pay his own way this summer to one of the zoo’s popular Keeper Camps, a weekend program in which teens get hands-on experience learning what it takes to be a zookeeper.