ZooMontana’s new $1.5 million Foster Waterfowl Refuge is set to open later this month after nearly a year and a half of construction.
The area, located in the center of the Zoo, has long been a dream of Executive Director Jeff Ewelt. The refuge was made possible by local philanthropist Cynthia Foster, who wanted to see a project at the Zoo in memory of her late husband Paul “Milan” Foster.
“The area where this new habitat is located was always such an eyesore,” Ewelt said. “The addition of the Foster Waterfowl Refuge not only creates important space for migrating birds, but it beautifies the Zoo, turning one of the ugliest areas of the Zoo into one of the most beautiful.”
Intrigued by the design and location, the Montana chapter of Ducks Unlimited worked with their members and national partner Phillips 66 to nearly match Foster’s original gift. Several more months of fundraising, combined with a grant from the State’s Brand MT, allowed the Zoo to move forward on the $1.5 million project.
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A unique concept, the habitat will be designed to be a natural fly-through for migrating waterfowl,