North American Conservation Award

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums names conservation as its highest priority, and recognizes exceptional efforts by AZA Institution, Related Facility or Conservation Partner members toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild through its North American Conservation Award. Regional efforts include those within the submitting institution's country or local bioclimatic/geographic area which may only include countries outside North American that are contiguous to those areas.

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 

2023 application materials are available below. Applications are due June 16, 2023.
Past recipients' application materials are available below.  

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 link in the Application document below. Your file will go to the AZA 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.

North American Conservation Award Recipients

See the past winners' applications (member login required)


Top Honors
Roger Williams Park Zoo / Queens Zoo for New England Cottontail Rabbit Captive Breeding and Recovery Program 

Significant Achievement
Oregon Zoo for Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery

Blank Park Zoo for Plant. Grow. Fly.


Top Honors
Houston Zoo and Fort Worth Zoo for Houston Toad Recovery Program

Significant Achievement
Brevard Zoo, Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society and Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo for Perdido Key beach mouse Species Survival Plan Program


Top Honors
San Diego Zoo Global, Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Oakland Zoo, Phoenix Zoo for California Condor Bi-national Recovery and Reintroduction Program, United States and Mexico

Significant Achievement
Saint Louis Zoo for The Saint Louis Zoo's American Burying Beetle Recovery Program


Top Honors

  • Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo for Recovering Western Pond Turtles in Washington State: A 25-Year Team Effort
  • Calgary Zoo, Audubon Nature Institute, International Crane Foundation and San Antonio Zoo for Whooping Crane Recovery Program

Significant Achievement

  • Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium for Salt Creek Tiger Beetle Captive Breeding and Reintroduction
  • Saint Louis Zoo for Ozark Hellbender Augmentation Program


Top Honors
Gladys Porter Zoo for Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Significant Achievement
Disney's Animal Kingdom and The Seas for Disney's Sea Turtle Conservation Program

Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center for Grizzly Bear Conservation through Bear Resistant Product Testing


Top Honors

  • Brevard Zoo for Community-based Oyster Restoration in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida
  • Oregon Zoo / Northwest Trek Wildlife Park for Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit Species Recovery

Significant Achievement
Monterey Bay Aquarium for Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program


Top Honors
Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Oregon Zoo, and Woodland Park Zoo for Oregon Spotted Frog Reintroduction Project

Significant Achievement

  • Oregon Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo for Oregon Silverspot Butterfly Captive Rearing Program
  • SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo Global for Light-footed Clapper Rail Recovery
  • Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo for Manatee Care and Conservation Program


Top Honors

  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Research Center
  • Toronto Zoo / Calgary Zoo for Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Program


Top Honors
Chicago Zoological Society / Mote Marine Laboratory for Long-term Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation Research

Significant Achievement

  • Phoenix Zoo for Chiricahua Leopard Frog Head-starting and Release Program
  • Roger Williams Park Zoo for Karner Blue Butterfly Conservation Program


Significant Achievement

  • Detroit Zoo for Coordination of Great Lakes Piping Plover Salvage Captive Rearing
  • Knoxville Zoo for The Tennessee Bog Turtle Program


Top Honors
Albuquerque Bio Park for Tingley Beach Restoration Project


Top Honors
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium for Red Wolf Recovery Program

Significant Achievement

  • Tennessee Aquarium for Saving The Sturgeon Program
  • Zoological Society Of San Diego for San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike


Top Honors
Calgary Zoo for Conservation Research on the Prairies of Canada and Montana


There were no applications in 2005.


Top Honors
The Audubon Zoo, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Buffalo Zoological Gardens, Central Florida Zoological Park, Central Park Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Detroit Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Granby Zoo, Louisville Zoological Garden; Lowry Park Zoo, Miami MetroZoo, Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens, Oklahoma City Zoo, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Saint Louis Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, Sedgwick County Zoo, Toledo Zoo, Toronto Zoo and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center for Puerto Rican Crested Toad Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Conservation Partnership


Top Honors
Toledo Zoo for Oak Savanna Butterfly Conservation Program

Significant Achievement

  • Memphis Zoo for Conservation of the Louisiana Pine Snake
  • Albuquerque Biological Park, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Dakota Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Minnesota Zoological Garden, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, Phoenix Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo, Utica Zoo, Wild Canid Survival and Research Center, Zoo New England for Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program


Top Honors
Zoological Society of San Diego for Hawai'i Endangered Bird Conservation Program


Top Honors
Philadelphia Zoo for Diamondback Terrapin Conservation Program


Top Honors
San Francisco Zoo for California Bald Eagle Recovery Program


Top Honors
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Houston Zoological Gardens, and San Antonio Zoological Gardens & Aquarium for Attwater's Prairie Chicken Recovery Program  

I Accept

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.