In 1998, the Adopt-A-Garden program was started under the sponsorship of the Saginaw Valley Zoological Society as a way to beautify the Zoo grounds through volunteer involvement. The Zoo Horticulture Committee was entrusted with recruiting volunteer gardeners and managing the program. They began the first year with 11 gardens. Each year the gardens have grown in number and beauty, and now there are over 80 gardens spreading color and vibrance throughout the Zoo.
Adopt-A-Gardens are assigned each year when space permits, with returning gardeners given first preference of any new available bed. Gardeners are responsible for providing their own plant material and are expected to maintain the garden for entire Zoo season.
An Adopt-A-Garden requires a weekly commitment to weed, water, fertilize and trim plants to keep the garden looking presentable at all times. Neglected sites give guests at the Zoo the impression that the rest of the Zoo is not well maintained. The Zoo has advised the Horticulture Committee that gardens that appear untended be re-assigned.
Gardeners are responsible for assisting with the fall clean-up of the gardens at the end of the season.