Education Award

About the Education Award

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design judging programs on their ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes and behavior, show innovation, and measure success. 

Awards will be presented in two categories based on annual operating budget (budgets less than $8 million and budgets of $8 million or more).

New this year is a tip sheet at the end of the guidelines with recommendations from former reviewers to assist applicants in developing their submissions.

If there is any question as to what constitutes an eligible project, please email Barbara Pueschel or call 301-244-3326.

How to Submit an Application

2019 Application and Guidelines are below for reference. 2020 Applications and Guidelines will be posted early in February 2020 and will be due on Monday, June 1, 2020. 

Download the Education Award application (DOC)
Guidelines for Submission (PDF)
Remember to submit a Media Release Form (DOC) with your application.

All Honors and Awards applications must be submitted in electronic format ONLY and must be compiled into one PDF. Please make sure the file name reflects both the award name and the institution. AZA has contracted with Webcargo to provide a quick and easy way for you to submit your application. Send your application via Webcargo.

Education Award Recipients

See past recipients' application materials (member log in required)

2019

Top Honors - operating budget over $8 million
Houston Zoo for Saving Wildlife School Partnership Program

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $8 million

  • Birmingham Zoo for ZooSchool
  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for Packrat Playhouse: Hidden in the Midden

Innovation - operating budget over $8 million
Nashville Zoo for Cougar Commodore Collaborative

2018

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million
Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo for Naturestart

Top Honors - operating budget under $5 million
WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium for The Living Curriculum Initiative

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million
Seattle Aquarium, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Woodland Park Zoo for Fostering Empathy for Animals: A Collaborative Project

Significant Achievement - operating budget under $5 million
Western North Carolina Nature Center for Expanding Impact Throughout Targeted Low Income Outreach Education

Innovation - operating budget over $5 million
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre for AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines

Community Engagement - operating budget over $5 million
Detroit Zoological Park for Celebrate Urban Backyards

2017

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million
Wildlife Conservation Society for Urban Advantage

Top Honors - operating budget under $5 million
Africam Safari for Guardians of the Forest

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million
Denver Zoo for Nurturing Scientists Through Nature Pay

Significant Achievement - operating budget under $5 million
North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores for Aquarium Teen Ambassadors

2016

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million

  • John G. Shedd Aquarium for Shedd Aquarium's Teen Field Experiences
  • Mystic Aquarium for Sea School Preschool Think Green in the Spring Program

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million

  • Chicago Zoological Society for King Conservation Science Scholars
  • The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk for Teen Maritime Program Emphasizing Science & Technology (TeMPEST)

2015

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million
Lincoln Park Zoo for Partners in Field Work

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million
Wildlife Conservation Society for Survey of Educator Attitudes on Science

2014

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Online Resource Library

Top Honors - operating budget under $5 million
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo for Conservation Discovery Corps

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million

  • Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for Inspiring Action through Wildlife Encounters
  • Denver Zoo for Toyota Elephant Passage Education Program

Significant Achievement - operating budget under $5 million
Miller Park Zoo for Junior Zookeepers

2013

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million
Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo for Outside-the-Box Professional Development

Top Honors - operating budget under $5 million
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for Young Scientists Program

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million
Louisville Zoological Gardens for School at the Zoo

2012

Top Honors - operating budget over $5 million

  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for African Elephant Crossing Education Program
  • Wildlife Conservation Society for Online Teacher Academy

Top Honors - operating budget under $5 million
Potter Park Zoo for BIG Zoo Lesson

Significant Achievement - operating budget over $5 million
Chicago Zoological Society / Brookfield Zoo for Centers of Science Excellence

2011

Top Honors
Woodland Park Zoo for Ready, Set, Discover 2011

Significant Achievement

  • CZS / Brookfield Zoo for Nature Start: Early Childhood Nature Program
  • Lincoln Park Zoo for Young Researchers Collaborative

2010

Top Honors

  • Minnesota Zoo for WolfQuest
  • Wildlife Conservation Society for Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation

Significant Achievement
Detroit Zoological Society for City Critters--An Educational Collaboration

2009

Top Honors
Chicago Zoological - Brookfield Zoo for Levels of Engagement

Significant Achievement
Lincoln Park Zoo for Exploring Ape Behavior

2008

Top Honors
Disney's Animal Kingdom for Continuing the Legacy of Conservation Education in African Sanctuaries

Significant Achievement

  • Woodland Park Zoo for The Cultural Interpreter Programs
  • Wildlife Conservation Society for Beyond the Campus

2007

Top Honors
Zoo Atlanta for Academy For Conservation Training

Significant Achievement
Seattle Aquarium for Sound Science

2006

Top Honors
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater

2005

Top Honors
Bronx Zoo for Girls for Planet Earth

Significant Achievement
Brookfield Zoo for Every Student is a Scientist: Using Technology to Foster Inclusive Learning

2004

Top Honors
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden for Helping Hands - Teens in Action in the Community

Significant Achievement

  • Zoo New England for Thinking Outside the Classroom: Zoo New England's Unique Partnership with the Beebe School Program
  • Philadelphia Zoo for Junior Zoo Apprentice Program

2003

Top Honors
Chicago Zoological Society for To Save a Species — Managing a Captive Population

Significant Achievement

  • National Aviary for Connecting the Classroom: Educating People About the Wonders of Birds via the World Wide Web
  • South Carolina Aquarium for Structured School Program

2002

Top Honors
Monterey Bay Aquarium for Splash Zone Education Programs

Significant Achievement

  • Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservation Society for Wildlife Science Careers Program
  • Houston Zoological Gardens for Project U.S.A.- Urban: Scientists in Action

2001

  • Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservation Society for SPARKS (Support Parents in Advocacy, Reform, and Knowledge in Science)
  • Woodland Park Zoo for Wild Wise

2000

  • Seattle Aquarium for Beach Naturalist Program
  • Bronx Zoo / Wildlife Conservation Society for Congo Gorilla Forest
  • National Aviary for Red Siskin Program Outreach Program

1999

  • National Aquarium in Baltimore for Aquarium on Wheels
  • Oregon Zoo for ZooWatch

1998

Brookfield Zoo for Zoo Adventure Passport

1997

Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Habitat Ecology Learning Program

1996

Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Conservation Education in China

1995

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for The RainForest Connection

1994

San Francisco Zoological Gardens for A Trail With An Attitude

1993

Los Angeles Zoo for Zoo Discovery Kit

1992

Monterey Bay Aquarium for Live from Monterey Canyon

1991

Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Zoos for Effective Science Teaching

1990

Oregon Zoo for Project S.A.F.E.

1989

National Aquarium in Baltimore for Living in Water

1988

San Diego Zoo for Kopje Exhibit Interpretive Program

1987

  • Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Diversity of Lifestyles
  • Philadelphia Zoological Garden for ZooWalk Summer Theater

1986

  • Cincinnati Zoo for A Future in the World
  • Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens for Exploring the Tropical Rainforest
  • San Francisco Zoological Society for Monroe School Zoomobile Project

1985

  • Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens for Preschool Education Program
  • National Zoological Park for Herplab
  • Sea World of California for Sea World Outreach Program

1984

Cincinnati Zoo for Animal & Environmental Learning Experiences and Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

1983

  • Cincinnati Zoo for Frisch's Discovery Center
  • Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens for Hands On Zoo
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore for Outreach Program in Marine and Aquatic Education

1982

  • Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Close-up on Animals for Exceptional Children
  • Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens for Dinosaurs, Dodos and You

1981

  • Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Park for Windows of Wildlife
  • Fort Worth Zoological Park for A Place for Life
  • Minnesota Zoological Garden for Institutional Commitment
  • Oregon Zoo for Creepy Crawler Zoomobile

1980

  • National Zoological Park for Zoolab
  • Phoenix Zoo for Zoomobile
  • Sea World of Ohio for Interworlds: Elementary Age
  • The Seattle Aquarium for Institutional Commitment
  • Sedgwick County Zoo for Teacher Project

1978

  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for Mexican Environmental Program
  • Oregon Zoo for Zoo Days
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium for Lake Michigan Education Program
  • Zoo Atlanta for Public Awareness of Reptile Conservation Program

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