AZA announces 2022 award recipients


AZA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, has recognised the achievements of eighteen member facilities during its 2022 AZA Annual Conference.

Held in Baltimore, Maryland in late August, the event recognised developments made in the fields of conservation, diversity, education, exhibit and facility design, marketing, research, exhibit and volunteer engagement.

The highest honour in professional excellence bestowed by the Association, the R. Marlin Perkins Award for Professional Excellence, was also presented at the conference.

“To win one of these awards an AZA-accredited aquarium or zoo must reach the very pinnacle of achievement,” says AZA president and chief executive officer Dan Ashe.

“From the South Carolina Aquarium to the Cali Zoo in Colombia, the range and breadth of talent on display is impressive, and a testament to the professionalism and commitment of all involved. Each facility recognized here is committed to saving wildlife and wild places and enriching their respective communities.”

AZA-Dan-Ashe
Dan Ashe

Sue Chin, president of planning & design and chief architect at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and chair of the AZA Honors and Awards Committee adds:

“In a rapidly changing world, zoos and aquariums continue to adapt and innovate. This year’s award-winning projects exemplify excellence across the whole profession and are critical to advancing the field and our collective mission.”

2022 Honours and Award Winners

R. Marlin Perkins Award for Professional Excellence

William G. Conway International Conservation Award

  • Top Honours – North Carolina Zoo’s UNITE for the Environment (UNITE) in Uganda

Exhibit Award:

  • Top Honours – Por el Camino de los Andes (Along the Andes Trail) Fundacion Zoolgica de Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia
  • Top Honours – South America’s Pantanal; Houston Zoo, Texas, US
  • Top Honours – Zoo Knoxville’s Clayton Family Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Campus (ARC Campus); Tennesee, US
  • Significant Achievement – Owen Sea Lions Shores, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska, US

Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award:

  • Top Honours – Morton Family Exhibit; Nashville Zoo, Tennesee, US

Education Award:

  • Top Honours – Toddler Time; Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton, Ohio, US
  • Significant Achievement – Virtual Zoo Pals; Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, California, US
  • Top Honours – You Can’t Be What You Can’t See: Increasing Representation in Conservation Science Stories; WCS / Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn, New York, US
  • Significant Achievement – Wildlife Action Crew; Seneca Park Zoo Society, Rochester, New York, US
  • Significant Achievement – Inclusion Initiatives Project: The Importance of Inclusive Education; Santa Barbara Zoo, California, US

Research Award:

  • Top Honours – Integrating genetics, behaviour, and ecology to align with a novel stepping-stone approach for Vancouver Island Marmots and other critically endangered species; Wilder Institute / Calgary Zoo, Alberta, Canada

Excellence in Marketing Award

  • Top Honours – Wild Asia; Akron Zoo, Ohio, US
  • Top Honours – This Is How We Zoo; Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle, Washington, US
  • Significant Achievement – “Just ZOO It;” Memphis Zoological Society, Tennessee, US
  • Significant Achievement – Aquarium Aglow; South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston, US

Volunteer Engagement Award:

  • Top Honours – Covid Can’t Curb Conservation Connections; San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, California, US.

Quarter Century Award (celebrating 25 years of continuous AZA accreditation):

  • Brevard Zoo; Melbourne, Florida, US
  • Dallas World Aquarium; Dallas, Texas, US
  • The Florida Aquarium; Tampa, US
  • Hutchinson Zoo; Kansas, US

More information on the awards can be found on the AZA website.

During the AZA Annual Conference, the organisation’s Independent Accreditation Commission met to review the latest round of applications for accreditation.



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