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​2020 Indianapolis Prize Nomination Period: June 29, 2018 to February 28, 2019 ​​

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.


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. 22 and Oct. 7, 2018. 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. 24 and Sept. 30, 2018. 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 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 please send an email to

​​Have a question? You may not be the only one! See our Frequently Asked Questions​ or send an email to

​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 discovered at any stage of the selection process, the Applicant 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. ​​To learn more about judging click here. ​