For the love of lemurs: Barbara Parkening establishes endowment to support the Duke Lemur Center

In a wild world, one donor’s passion for animals will help shape the future of the DLC for years to come.

It’s an instantly humbling conversation when a donor reaches out to you to share that they are making plans to provide a substantial gift after they pass away, naming us as a beneficiary in any way or as a recipient of part of their estate. Of all the places and worthy causes in this world, they are choosing us – the Duke Lemur Center – for this very important gift! Wow – what an honor that is, and there really is no possible way to express what that means to us and our work. It’s also incredibly exciting when a donor establishes an endowment that will support a need of the center in perpetuity during their lifetime. Recently, we had both honors from a donor whose generosity and love of animals will shape a beautiful story for the Duke Lemur Center’s future in its care of our precious colony.

Barbara Colyear Parkening
Barbara Colyear Parkening

Barbara Colyear Parkening is a dynamic, independent woman who is deeply passionate about advocating for animals. Meet her and you will immediately hear in her voice a zest for a great many things in life, including travel to faraway places and observing wildlife in their natural habitats. She has been on journeys to places that most of us dream of seeing. She even crossed paths in 2000 with Martin and Chris Kratt while they were filming tigers in India for the show Zoboomafoo! Her love of lemurs really is just a very small part of her story, yet it is a shining example of her generous character. Since she was a small child, she not only adored animals, she was fascinated by wildlife. As a young adult, she was the youngest in a group of seven zookeepers at the Los Angeles Zoo and helped with primates, including a Bornean orangutan named Eloise, who is still alive today. She later became known for her willingness to take in wild animals and even now, she cares for rescued dogs, other animals, and horses.

Continue reading Barbara’s story at

World Lemur Day Virtual Gala  |  Friday, October 30, 2020

Make plans to join the Duke Lemur Center for a virtual World Lemur Day celebration on October 30 and view the premiere of our feature presentation video: Me, You, and Zoboomafoo! Registration is FREE, and we will offer fun contests, prizes, and an online auction to extend the virtual gala experience through the entire week leading up to the video premiere.

For more information, visit

TAGS: Duke Lemur Center Giving and Impact Stories

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Gift Planning

Duke University’s Office of Gift Planning specializes in charitable gift planning for estates, charitable trusts and annuities, and other complex current and future gift plans.

For more information, please contact the Duke University Office of Gift Planning at 919-681-0464 or