Judging & Nominations
Prize Nominating Committee and Jury

Judging & Nominations

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Nominating a Conservation Hero

Nominations are open from June 15, 2018 to Feb. 28, 2019 for the 2020 Indianapolis Prize.

Selecting the Finalists and Winner of the Indianapolis Prize is an intense two-step judging structure undertaken by the Prize Nominating Committee and Jury.

Nominating an individual is simple and includes a 500-word narrative about the individual along with two to four letters of support. All applications will be reviewed for appropriateness and completeness. A staff member will then contact the applicant and request additional documentation including a CV and supporting materials.

To receive an application or find out more information, please complete the form below.

Judging Process
  • Nomination Criteria

    Thank you for your interest in the Indianapolis Prize. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the sustainability of an animal species or group of species. The following information details the criteria needed to nominate an individual.

    To be nominated, applicants must have accomplished an individual achievement or series of achievements that have resulted in a demonstrable positive impact on an animal species or group of species that is likely to improve long-term sustainability. The impact of achievements under consideration must be clearly recognizable when evaluated by the Nominating Committee and Jury*.

    Consideration will be given to:

    • The challenges overcome by the nominee in the pursuit of his or her achievement.
    • The significance of the achievement or achievements.
    • The measurable outcomes resulting from the nominee’s work.
    • The quality of any science involved.
    • The number of years the nominee has dedicated to the aspect of conservation work under evaluation. Please note that length of career is not the primary criterion.
    • The unselfish dedication to conservation work that the nominee has demonstrated throughout his or her career.
    • Any cooperation the nominee has demonstrated with zoological and other likeminded conservation organizations, particularly those for which the nominee does not work.
  • Restrictions

    Nominations are open to anyone with knowledge of an individual whose work has had a great impact upon a species or group of species that can be measured over time. Their work must demonstrate the improvement in long-term sustainability was the result of direct and specific actions of the applicant.

    • Applicants must be individual living persons, not an organization, program or group of individuals.
    • If selected as the Winner of the Indianapolis Prize, the individual must agree to participate in activities scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, between Sept. 7-19, 2020. Transportation and lodging will be covered by the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.
    • If selected as one of the five (5) Indianapolis Prize Finalists, the individual must agree to participate in activities scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, between Sept. 9-13, 2020. Transportation and lodging will be covered by the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.
    • Applicants must agree that, if selected as a Winner or Finalist, they will reasonably assist in the obtaining of necessary permissions to use materials reflective of their work on Indianapolis Zoo grounds, and will assist as necessary in the production of media and materials required to present a synopsis of their work at the Indianapolis Prize Gala.
    • Applicants may not be employees, Board Members, or volunteer staff of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. Immediate family members or significant others of the Nominating Committee, Jury, Indianapolis Zoological Society employees, Board Members, and volunteer staff are also ineligible.
  • Nominating Committee & Jury

    The Indianapolis Prize Nominating Committee and Jury each consist of nine different individuals, from across the globe, who are representative of the scientific and conservation sector, the Indianapolis community and the Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

    At the close of the nomination period, all applications are reviewed for completeness and qualification requirements by the Indianapolis Prize Steering Committee. Once the applicant list is final the Nominating Committee begins the first round of discussion.

    In closed deliberation, Nomination Committee members have roughly three months to thoughtfully review the materials and determine the six individuals who will advance to the level of Finalist. Once chosen the Jury then analyses the six Finalists’ work, in a second closed deliberation spanning three months, to select the award recipient.

    The Nominating Committee and the Jury utilize the following criteria to give thorough consideration to the nominee’s scientific impact and sustainable conservation methods:

    • The significance of an achievement or achievements in the conservation of an animal species or multiple species;
    • The measurable outcomes resulting from the Nominee’s work;
    • The quality of science involved;
    • The number of years the individual has dedicated to the aspect of conservation work under evaluation;
    • The unselfish dedication to conservation work that the individual has shown throughout his or her career;
    • The spirit of cooperation the individual has demonstrated with zoological and other like-minded conservation institutions, especially those not directly affiliated with any organization for which the Nominee works.

    *Nominating Committee and Jury members change each Prize cycle.

Indianapolis Prize Nominating Committee and Jury 2018
  • Nominating Committee Members

    Steve Cagle: Trustee, Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

    Dr. Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz: Associate Professor, School of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

    Dr. Heather DeCaluwe: Society for Conservation Biology

    Dr. Peter Etnoyer: Marine Biologist, NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

    Michael Huber: President and CEO, Indy Chamber

    Dr. Lynn Maguire: Professor of the Practice of Environmental Decision Analysis, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

    Dr. Crickette Sanz: Associate Professor of Anthropology, Washington University

    Michele Schilten: Director of Education and Conservation, Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

    Dr. Richard Wrangham: Professor of Biological Anthropology, Harvard University

  • Jury Members

    Dr. Jonathan Baillie: Chief Scientist, National Geographic

    Dr. Kamaljit Bawa: Distinguished Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston

    Dr. Paula Kahumbu: CEO, WildlifeDirect

    Dr. Mark Penning: Chair, Field Conservation Committee, AZA; Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks

    Dr. Jeff Proudfoot: VP, Veterinary Sciences, Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc.

    Myrta Pulliam: Director, Special Projects, IndyStar

    Dr. Jon Paul Rodriguez: Chair, IUCN Species Survival Commission

    Cindy Simon Skjodt: Chairman, Samerian Foundation

    Dr. Christopher Wemmer: Honorary Fellow, California Academy of Sciences; Scientist Emeritus, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

Contact Us to Receive an Application

Disclaimer of Responsibility, Rejection of Applications, Disqualification. The Indianapolis Zoological Society, Inc. is not responsible for lost, late, non-delivered, or misdirected mail, e-mail, or communications malfunctions of any kind in the administration of the Indianapolis Prize or for the failure of any application to be received by the Indianapolis Zoo on account of postal or courier delays or losses, technical problems, or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, or any combination thereof. The Applicant acknowledges and accepts that the Indianapolis Zoo reserves the absolute right to reject any late or incomplete application. Likewise, if the Applicant or the Nominating Party omits any material fact on the application form or in any other submitted materials, or if Applicant engages in immoral, improper, unseemly or illegal behavior, or any behavior adverse to the Indianapolis Zoo or the other Applicants, whether intentional or unintentional, the Applicant may be disqualified at any point in the process at the Indianapolis Zoo’s sole discretion. If any disqualifying information or provision of false information is discover.