Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award

About the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognizes the value of human diversity (including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs and political or other ideologies) in all endeavors.

Through the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award, AZA recognizes significant achievement in the workforce and audience diversity by an AZA member institution. Applicants may submit an entry for any diversity program designed to increase diversity through education, training, community service, recruitment and retention, interpretative exhibition, public relations, and marketing.

The award recognizes the most significant, innovative, productive, far-reaching, program to promote diversity in institutions throughout AZA. Therefore priority will be given to significant, comprehensive programs. Programs designed as one-time or special events for single implementation will not be considered. Programs must be active at the time of submission to be eligible for this award.

If there is any question as to what constitutes an eligible project, please email Rob Vernon or call (301) 244-3352.

How to Submit an Application 

2020 sample application and guidelines are available below. 2021 application materials will be updated in the Spring and will be due on June 1, 2021. 

All Honors and Awards applications must be submitted in electronic format ONLY and must be compiled into one PDF file. Please make sure the file name reflects both the award name and the institution.

Please upload your file to the AZA Dropbox. Your file will go to the AZA Digital Dropbox account, but you do not need to sign in, or even have a Dropbox account to use this link—when it opens, just click on the “choose files” box and upload your application.

Remember to submit a Media Release Form (DOC) with your application.

Diversity Award Recipients

See past recipients' application materials (member login required)


Significant Achievement
Woodland Park Zoo for Woodland Park Zoo Volunteer Inclusion Program

Special Recognition
Brevard Zoo for Family Nature Club


Top Honors
Potter Park Zoo for Zoo In Your Neighborhood

Significant Achievement
Oregon Zoo for Oregon Zoo: Coordinated Initiative to Expand Our Circle of Inclusion

Community Engagement
Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk for Accessibility for All


Significant Achievement

  • Wildlife Conservation Society for Project TRUE (Teens Researching Urban Ecology)
  • Akron Zoological Park and Birmingham Zoo for Sensory Inclusive Zoo Initiative


Top Honors
John G. Shedd Aquarium for All Are Welcome: Accessibility and Inclusion at Shedd Aquarium

Significant Achievement

  • Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for W.I.L.D. (Wildlife Immersion and Leadership Development) Program
  • Utah's Hogle Zoo for Zoo Just for You


Top Honors
Chicago Zoological Society for A Zoo for All


Significant Achievement
Detroit Zoological Society for Inclusive Experience


Significant Achievement
Wildlife Conservation Society for Bridging the Gap: The Effects of a School-to-Career Approach to Promoting Wildlife Science Careers Among Minority Students


Top Honors
Chicago Zoological Society for Cultivating Conservation Communities

Significant Achievement
Monterey Bay Aquarium for Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH)


Top Honors
Indianapolis Zoo for Minority Purchasing Initiative

Significant Achievement

  • Mystic Aquarium for Community Classroom for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Smithsonian National Zoo and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for YES! Program (Youth Engagement through Science)


Top Honors
Wildlife Conservation Society for Wildlife Career Center


Top Honors
Houston Zoo, Inc. for Target Title 1


Top Honors
Milwaukee Zoological Society and Milwaukee County Zoo for Programs for Disadvantaged Youth


Top Honors
Oregon Zoo for Zoo Animal Presenters (ZAP) Urban Nature Overnights (UNO)


Top Honors
Wildlife Conservation Society / Bronx Zoo for After-School Adventures in Wildlife Science

Significant Achievement
Monterey Bay Aquarium for Young Women in Science


Top Honors
South Carolina Zoo for High School Intern Program


Top Honors
Denver Zoo for Wonders in Nature - Wonders in Neighborhoods

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