Minnesota Zoo Director of Biological Programs Recognized with Prestigious Tim O’Sullivan Award
Apple Valley, MINN – September 20, 2012 – The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Professional Development Committee has selected Minnesota Zoo Director of Biological Programs Kevin Willis as the recipient of the Tim O’Sullivan Award for his efforts in AZA professional development programs.
“Kevin is an extremely deserving recipient of this prestigious award,” said Nette Pletcher, the AZA’s Director of Conservation Education. “The selection committee was unanimous in their decision to recognize this nominee for his long-time support of the AZA’s professional development programs.”
Willis has been a part of the zoological community since 1991. With a background in genetics and statistics, he is among the instructors with the greatest number of years instructing AZA courses. His involvement spans 20 years, developing and teaching courses in population management focusing on data acquisition and breeding recommendations. He has regularly spear-headed enhancing and updating coursework as the field of animal management in a zoological setting has evolved.
Said Willis: “For the past 20 years, I have thoroughly enjoyed designing courses and teaching the principles of animal population management to zoo and aquarium professionals. I am both honored and flattered to be included among the recipients of this award.”
Willis has also gone beyond the typical instructor role and has often pulled double duty, teaching twice a year for many years in a row to meet the needs of the AZA. His efforts and dedication toward AZA professional development programs have created the foundation on which AZA animal programs are built.
Minnesota Zoo Director/CEO Lee Ehmke notes: “Kevin’s service to the entire zoo/aquarium community cannot be overstated. He has been instrumental in facilitating the increasing levels of cooperation and coordination between our institutions in the care and management of our precious animal populations. We are delighted that Kevin’s important work has been recognized by the AZA.”
Additionally, Willis has written articles for numerous publications. These articles have been published in Zoo Biology, International Zoo Yearbook, Animal Keeper’ Forum, and other professional journals. He also co-authored a chapter on Regional Collection Planning for Mammals, in the text Wild Mammals in Captivity (2010, D.G. Kleinman, K.V. Thompson, and C. Kirk Bear, eds).
About the Tim O’Sullivan Award
Previous recipients of the Tim O’Sullivan Award for Professional Development include:
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. To learn more visit aza.org.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).