News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

September 14, 2016


Chicago Zoological Society Is Recognized for Conservation Leadership
Wins Three Prestigious Awards from the Accrediting Body for Zoos in the United States

Brookfield, Ill. – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) today announced that the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, has been recognized with three awards: Top Honors in the 2016 Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award, Significant Achievement in the 2016 Education Award, and Top Honors for Innovation in the 2016 Award for Exhibit Design. Founded in 1924, AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries.

“Our mission is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature, and we hope that after guests visit they will make conservation-minded decisions in their everyday lives,” said Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of CZS. “Through our interactive exhibits and our programs, we aim to encourage everyone to develop the skills needed to meet the environmental challenges that next generations will face.”

CZS received Top Honors in the 2016 Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award for its A Zoo for All initiative, which provides unique engagement opportunities for children, youth, and adults with disabilities. A Zoo for All provides programming across four general areas: life and work skills, inclusive and customized CZS programs, Brookfield Zoo guest experiences and outreach events, and inclusive visits.

The Significant Achievement in AZA’s 2016 Education Award was presented to CZS for the King Conservation Science Scholars program. This initiative combines informal education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), college and career readiness, and volunteer environmental civic engagement projects. It is an opportunity for high school students to make a difference in their communities while preparing for their future.

CZS received Top Honors for Innovation in AZA’s 2016 Award for Exhibit Design (in the category of annual operating budgets over $5 million) for its Hamill Family Wild Encounters/Bramsen Animal Ambassador Pavilion, which opened July 1, 2015. This interactive animal experience provides opportunities for zoo guests to interact with animals, including the zoo’s animal ambassadors. The exhibit features a variety of experiences, such as narrative illustrations, art and sculptures, audiovisual media, and hands-on interactives to highlight connections between animals and people.

“In addition to being a leader in conservation and education, CZS exemplifies how we can all work together to help protect the Earth and make a positive difference for the future of wildlife,” said Keith Winsten, director of the Brevard Zoo and chair of AZA’s Honors and Awards Committee. “These awards provide well-deserved national recognition for these CZS programs and exhibits.”

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world.


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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