CINCINNATI – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) announced that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden received Significant Achievement in its 2014 Education Award for the Inspiring Action through Wildlife Encounters education program. The AZA Education Award recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design, judging programs on their ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes and behavior, show innovation, and measure success. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden received its Education Award in the category of institutions with budgets over $5 million.
“As an education resource for teachers, organizations, and families throughout the region, the Cincinnati Zoo feels strongly that it is important to have exhibits that contain family-friendly interactive elements to enhance and promote learning for all ages,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Through hands-on learning, children are able to understand and retain more information. Our goal is to not only educate families, but inspire them along the way.”
The Inspiring Action through Wildlife Encounters program at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden engages visitors in up close, personal encounters with staff and animal ambassadors through a variety of experiences, including Around-the-Zoo Encounters, Animal Shows, Animal Encounters, Animal Feeding Stations and Discover Zones. The goals of the program are that after a Zoo experience that includes Wildlife Encounters, visitors will intend to 1) share their enthusiasm about their Zoo experience with others, 2) respect wildlife and where they live, and 3) participate in resource conservation actions modeled by the Zoo.
“The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is taking the lead in science education,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “Education is a high priority for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, as well as for all AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, and this award provides well-deserved national recognition for the Inspiring Action through Wildlife Encounters education program, which is helping to build the next generation of conservationists.”
Collaborative partners for the program include:
- Dr. Joe E. Heimlich, The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources Extension at COSI
- Jessica Sickler, Lifelong Learning Group