Archive: Detroit Zoological Society Recognized with Diversity Award

September 29, 2015

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) has been recognized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for Significant Achievement with the 2015 Angela Peterson Excellence in Diversity Award for the Inclusive Experience.

The award honors significant achievement in work-force and audience diversity among the 229 AZA-member institutions.  The DZS was recognized for its efforts to accommodate diverse audiences by offering accommodations for Detroit Zoo guests with autism.

“Just as we value, are committed to and celebrate biodiversity, we value and are committed to the diversity of our ‘human’ community.  The autism initiative is one of many ways in which we seek to celebrate and include everyone in our community,” said DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan.

An online visual guide for individuals with autism – which helps set expectations for animal habitats, rides, attractions and other experiences at the Detroit Zoo – was developed in collaboration with the Autism Alliance of Michigan.  In addition to offering the visual narrative, the DZS regularly trains all full- and part-time Zoo staff and seasonal employees on welcoming guests with autism and creating an inclusive environment.  The training includes guidelines for working with guests with autism as well as tips on how to assist the guests’ caregivers.

“While continuing to be a leader in conservation and education, the Detroit Zoo has proven that it values human diversity in its endeavors, encouraging all of us to work together to help protect the Earth and its inhabitants,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.