Local conservation advocate 'Uncle Jack' Van Nordheim celebrates 100th birthday at LA Zoo

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Friday, August 4, 2023
Wildlife fan 'Uncle Jack' celebrates 100th birthday at LA Zoo
Conservation and wildlife advocate 'Uncle Jack' celebrates turning 100 years old with family, friends, social media followers and a party at the Los Angeles Zoo.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- You may have heard of Southern California's famous "Uncle Jack." He is a conservation advocate who has become a social media sensation with more than 1.5 million followers on TikTok and Instagram.

He just turned 100 years old! And there's no better way to celebrate all of his success than a day at the Los Angeles Zoo.

"He has such a great love for wildlife, for nature," said Emily Marrin, marketing and communications director of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. "'Uncle Jack' is inspiring so many people here in Los Angeles, in California, and around the world. So we planned a really special day. You could just tell the delight on his face."

His grand-nephew, Damon Vonn, says they've been best friends for decades.

"We became best friends when I was about 9 years old. He would take me on hikes. We would catch snakes and lizards and wander around Southern California learning about wildlife."

He was born in Glendale July 31, 1923, right down the street here. So here we are 100 years later celebrating his 100th."

"Uncle Jack" Van Nordheim shared the secrets to his longevity.

"Be very active. Take long walks and enjoy the birds singing," he said. "And don't forget to eat plenty of dark chocolate!"

The beloved local treasure also has a book coming out. "Ask Uncle Jack: 100 Years of Wisdom" is co-authored by Damon Vonn his grand-nephew and artist-manager. It will be released Sept. 26.