WCS's Bronx Zoo Earns TOP HONORS for Teen Education Program

Wildlife Career Ladder Program receives Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award from Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Bronx, NY – Sept. 22, 2011 – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums awarded its top honor for excellence in diversity in the field of education to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo for the Wildlife Career Ladder program for Bronx teens.

The zoo’s education department was presented with the Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award at a ceremony at the 2011 AZA Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The award recognizes the most significant innovative, productive, far-reaching program to promote diversity in institutions throughout AZA.

Established in 2008-09 with support from the Bronx Institute of Lehman College through funding from a U.S. Department of Education GEAR UP grant, the Wildlife Career Ladder is a multi-year program that engages minority students at the beginning of their sophomore year in high school and takes them through the beginning of their junior year. The program involves approximately 25 young people at any time – almost all of whom are minorities, and many come from some of the lowest income communities in the country. 

“We are proud of our partnership with the Bronx Institute of Lehman College and it is exciting to be recognized by our peers,” said Don Lisowy, WCS Director of Education. “The Wildlife Career Ladder program is still in its infancy and has tremendous potential to expand and serve as a model for development of future programs.”

As currently constructed, the Wildlife Career Ladder consists of four main components:

  •  After-School and Weekend Program – students receive an introduction to topics and careers in environmental and wildlife sciences and have a chance to meet zoo professionals in all fields
  • Summer Program – students receive hands-on instruction in animal health and conservation biology
  • Explainers Program – students engage in further study that enables them to interpret exhibits for guests at the Bronx Zop
  • Career Ladder Internship – students are placed in part-time internships throughout WCS in positions including Environmental Education, Public Affairs, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Business Services.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Education Department serves more than 100,000 students and 2,400 teachers annually. It works across New York City to provide science, technology, engineering, and math education to underserved students. WCS is a partner with the innovative Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx and offers subsidized and free programs to thousands of students from all five New York City boroughs each year.

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide.  We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.  Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.  WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Adult general admission is $16, children (3-12 years old) $12, children under 3 are free. Parking is $13 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.

If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation.

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