Southwest Gas presented a $10,000 check to the Friends of Big Bear Alpine Zoo and mobilized a team of 86 volunteers to provide assistance with improvement projects at the zoo.

On Saturday, June 29, the Southwest Gas Foundation demonstrated its strong commitment to community support by presenting a $10,000 check to the Friends of Big Bear Alpine Zoo, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. In addition to this generous donation, Southwest Gas mobilized a remarkable team of 86 employees and family members through the company’s volunteer program, Building Lives Up Everywhere (BLUE), who volunteered their personal time to work at the zoo for the day.

“We are deeply grateful to Southwest Gas for selecting Big Bear Alpine Zoo for their volunteer event. Their dedication to enhancing our facilities will not only enrich the visitor experience but also contribute greatly to the well-being of our animals,” said Jessica Whiton, Curator, Big Bear Alpine Zoo. “Together, we are creating a brighter future for both our guests and the precious wildlife we care for.”

Southwest Gas volunteers made a substantial impact throughout the day, engaging in a variety of tasks aimed at enhancing the zoo’s facilities and environment. They made improvements to the zoo’s perimeter fencing, painted a shade structure, made minor repairs in small animal enclosures, and transported sand, dirt and gravel throughout animal exhibits. Smaller plants and trees were also added to animal enclosures, enriching the habitat for the zoo’s inhabitants.

This volunteer turnout marked a significant milestone for Southwest Gas, representing their largest participation in a Southern California charity event to date. Looking ahead, Southwest Gas has committed to further supporting the zoo by returning to assist with the installation of larger, mature trees. These trees will provide additional shade for both the zoo’s animal residents and visitors.

“It’s truly inspiring to see our employees and their families consistently donate their personal time to support our local community,” said Samuel Grandlienard, vice president of Southwest Gas’ Southern California Division. “Organizations like the Big Bear Alpine Zoo are just as much a part of our employees’ lives as they are for visitors. We live and work in the neighborhoods we serve and strive to make a difference for future generations.”

The Southwest Gas Foundation donation will play a crucial role in supporting the Friends of Big Bear Alpine Zoo’s ongoing initiatives. Funds will supplement costs to help with animal care, facility improvements, educational programs or conservation efforts aligned with the zoo’s mission.

Southwest Gas, which provides natural gas service to the High Desert and Big Bear areas, has a longstanding culture of community involvement and philanthropy. In 2023 alone, employee volunteer efforts across the company totaled more than 3,500 hours, with $2.4 million donated through the employee giving program to organizations and initiatives aimed at strengthening local communities.

Come see all the great work completed by Southwest Gas and experience the wonders of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo website to plan your next visit and learn how you can support the Big Bear Alpine Zoo by visiting Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo website. To learn more about Southwest Gas’ commitment to the community by visiting