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2018 Nominations are closed.

Nominations for the 2020 Prize will open June 29, 2018. ​​

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.

Nominees who receive the Indianapolis Prize 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.


Nominations are open to anyone with knowledge of an individual (not a program or organization) whose work has had a great impact upon a species or group of species that can be measured over time. Their work must demonstrate that the improvement in long-term sustainability was the result of direct and specific actions of the nominee. ​

  • Nominees must be individual living persons, not organizations, who if selected as the recipient of the Indianapolis Prize, must agree to participate in activities scheduled to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, between September 22nd and October 7th, 2018 (transportation, lodging, and reasonable expenses will be paid by the Indianapolis Zoological Society).

  • Nominees must agree that, if selected as the recipient, they will reasonably assist in the obtaining of necessary permissions to use materials reflective of their work in an exhibit honoring that work at the Indianapolis Zoo, 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. ​

  • Nominees may not be employees, Board Members, or volunteer staff of the Indianapolis Zoological Society. Immediate family members or significant others of the Nominating Committee, Jury, Indianapolis Zoological Society employees, Board Members, and volunteer staff are also ineligible. ​


Nominating an individual is simple and includes a 500-word narrative about the individual along with two to four letters of support. ​To receive an application please send an email to
The 2020 nomination period will close Febru​ary 28, 2019.

​Questions may be emailed to

​Disclaimer of Responsibility, Rejection of Applications, Disqualification. The Indianapolis Zoo 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 Nomination Form 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.  Nominee acknowledges and accepts that the Indianapolis Zoo reserves the absolute right to reject any late or incomplete application.  Likewise, if Nominee or the Nominating Party omit any material fact on the Nomination Form or in any other submitted materials, or if Nominee engages in immoral, improper, unseemly or illegal behavior, or any behavior adverse to the Indianapolis Zoo or the other nominees, whether intentional or unintentional, Nominee 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 discovered at any stage of the selection process, Nominee may be removed from consideration and all Prize awards will be forfeited or returned in full.  ​

 *Nominating Committee and Jury members change each Prize cycle. Selections have not been made for 2018.