Press Release

Deliberation Committees Announced

Renowned conservationists and Indianapolis leaders to select the next Indianapolis Prize Honorees

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Biennially, the Indianapolis Prize selects a group of renowned conservation experts, Indianapolis community leaders and Zoological Society representatives to serve on deliberation committees that independently determine Indianapolis Prize honorees—individuals who have pioneered and mastered approaches to animal species conservation, making victory for wildlife and wild places attainable. The Indianapolis Prize spotlights the stories and accomplishments of conservationists whose work not only saves species of this generation but shapes future populations and ecosystems.

Qualified nominees and applicants are reviewed by these distinguished panels—deliberators who independently rank qualified conservationists on how well they fulfill the criteria. These judges include community leaders, scientists, foreign affairs experts and corporate business leaders. These dedicated and talented individuals combine their expertise to select the Indianapolis Prize Winner, five DeHaan Finalists and an Emerging Conservationist to be honored at the 2025 Indianapolis Prize Gala. The 2025 Indianapolis Prize deliberation committees are as follows:

Indianapolis Prize Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee members review each entry and determine six individuals who will advance to the level of DeHaan Finalist.

  • Christa Adkins is an attorney, former board chair for The Nature Conservancy in Indiana and the Indianapolis Zoo Board of Trustees’ designee to the Nominating Committee.
  • Luisa Arnedo, Ph.D., is a director of science and innovation programs wildlife at National Geographic.
  • Tom Butynski, Ph.D., is a conservation ecologist with Wild Solutions, an Eastern Africa primate diversity and conservation program.
  • Charles Foley, Ph.D., is a senior conservation scientist with the Tanzania Conservation Research Program at Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Melynne Klaus is the vice president for governance and board relations for Christel House International and Endless Success Foundation. Klaus serves as the community designee for the Nominating Committee.
  • Monica Medina is an attorney and government official who previously served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Department of State.
  • Steve Reichling, Ph.D., is the director of conservation and research at the Memphis Zoo.
  • Monika Böhm, Ph.D., is the Freshwater Coordinator for the Global Center for Species Survival at the Indianapolis Zoo and the staff liaison.

Indianapolis Prize Jury

The Indianapolis Prize Jury analyses the six DeHaan Finalists’ work, in a closed deliberation process, to select the award recipient.

  • Jane Alexander is an actress, author and 2021 Indianapolis Prize Global Wildlife Ambassador.
  • Kristian Andersen is the co-founder and partner of High Alpha and serves as the community designee for the Jury.
  • Pablo Borboroglu, Ph.D., is the founder and president of the Global Penguin Society and the 2023 Indianapolis Prize Winner.
  • Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D., is the Chief Conservation Officer of Re:wild and 2018 Indianapolis Prize Winner.
  • Danni Parks is the director for the Whitley Fund for Nature.
  • Mary Pearl, Ph.D., is the former dean of the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York, the former CEO of the Garrison Institute and the former president of Ecohealth Alliance.
  • Myrta J. Pulliam is a journalist and the Indianapolis Zoo Board of Trustees’ designee to the Jury.
  • Patricia C. Wright, Ph.D., is the Herrnstein Professor of Conservation Biology at Stony Brook University, founder and director of the Institute of Conservation of Tropical Environments and the 2014 Indianapolis Prize Winner.
  • Christopher Martin, Ph.D., is the director of research at the Indianapolis Zoo and the staff liaison.

Emerging Conservationist Selection Committee

The Emerging Conservationist Selection Committee reviews the applications of 10 finalists selected by the Indianapolis Zoo’s review committee to choose a winner.

  • Gerardo Ceballos, Ph.D., is a senior researcher at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
  • Fanny M. Cornejo is the executive director of Yunkawasi and 2023 Emerging Conservationist Winner.
  • Lorenzo Esters, Ed.D., is president of the Indianapolis Foundation and serves as the community designee for the Selection Committee.
  • Mohammad Farhadinia, Ph.D., is a quantitative ecologist and research fellow at the University of Oxford and a lecturer in conservation science at the University of Kent.
  • Trey Fehsenfeld is the executive director of the Kobe Foundation. 
  • Anne Nobles is an attorney and retired senior vice president of enterprise risk management at Eli Lilly and Co., having also served as the company’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. Nobles is the is the Indianapolis Zoo Board of Trustees’ designee to the Selection Committee.
  • Luis Padilla, DVM, is the president and CEO of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Jeffry Proudfoot, DVM, is the vice president of veterinary services at the Indianapolis Zoo and the staff liaison.

The Indianapolis Prize will announce the top ten Emerging Conservationist Finalists in September and the Indianapolis Prize DeHaan Finalists early next year. The 2025 Indianapolis Prize honorees will be recognized at the Indianapolis Prize Gala on Sept. 27, 2025, celebrating 20 years of conserving animal species.

Learn more about the Indianapolis Prize Award