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Wonder Gardens Board chairperson Dr. Wendy Arsenault looks forward to the historic attraction’s next phase

The long-time Bonita Springs resident and former business owner is excited for what is to come

Dr. Wendy Arsenault, a semi-retired veterinary cardiologist, is excited to help plan improvements and enhancements to the Wonder Gardens as chairperson of the board of directors.

Arsenault has served on the nonprofit Wonder Gardens’ board since November 2022 before becoming chairperson early this year to help negotiate a public-private partnership operating agreement with the City of Bonita Springs that was approved in April.

“I wanted to do anything I could to move the partnership forward,” she said. “I’m glad I could be a part of that, and now we have a clear path for the future.”

The agreement helped pave the way for the next phase of improvements and fundraising for Wonder Gardens through its Master Plan. The plan includes fundraising and building a new Animal Care Center that will help with accreditation with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Other plans include an elevated canopy, an event building, amphitheater, discovery zone, enhanced alligator exhibit and more. A long-planned otter exhibit is hoped to be completed later this year.

Arsenault moved to Bonita Springs from upstate New York about 20 years ago. She established Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists in Bonita Springs, a practice she ran from 2003-2019. Arsenault is also a member of the Rotary Club of Bonita Springs, where she serves on the board.

Other volunteer members of the Wonder Gardens board of directors include Eileen Tasso, secretary; Larry Vars, treasurer; Donna M. Flammang, immediate past president; Diane Ewing, Dr. Damien Lin, VMD; Angela Swanepoel; Dr. Alan White and Marjo White.

For more information about the Master Plan and how to support it, visit wondergardens.org/strategic-and-master-plans/.

About the Wonder Gardens

The Wonder Gardens, a charitable zoological park and botanical garden established in 1936 in Bonita Springs, is home to rescued birds and reptiles nestled among sprawling banyan trees and plantings. While preserving the best of this site’s history, the nonprofit cares for rescued, rehabilitated, and non-releasable animals, is upgrading wildlife enclosures and growing the botanical beauty of the property, while delivering education programs and events and further engaging the community to enjoy this jewel in historic Downtown Bonita Springs. The Wonder Gardens, at 27180 Old 41 Road in Bonita Springs, is one of the few remaining cornerstones of Old Florida, an enduring symbol of the history of the region, and a resource for learning about the environment and wildlife. For information, visit wondergardens.org or call 239-992-2591.

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