Coming full circle at Fresno's Chaffee Zoo

FRESNO, Calif.

Stingray Bay is a popular attraction inside Fresno's Chaffee Zoo. It's a place to connect with and learn about these gentle sea creatures.

16-year-old Angel Arellano accepted a summer job here at Stingray Bay. She's much more grown up than she was when she championed the cause of the zoo back in 2004.

Her letter to the Fresno Bee and continued appearances urged others to help, too. "A lot of kids like the zoo and they just really want to help make the zoo a better place."

Her cause would lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the passage of Measure "Z". The Fresno County wide tax now funds zoo improvements and expansion.

When Chaffee Zoo Director Scott Barton met Angel earlier this year he offered her a part-time summer job here and she accepted. She said, "I kind of have the choice now to how I'm involved with it. And it's better."

Angel is a high school student who has good grades, plays on the water polo team and wants to go to college and then become a physician.

For now she's a guide to all things stingray in a place she still supports and loves. "I'm happy that I did, 'cause if I didn't I'm not really sure where the zoo would be right now and that's kind of scary."

"I think angel really kind of falls into the history of the zoo as one of the things that helped turn it around," said Barton.

Angel Arellano is living proof that one person really can make a difference.

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