Community Awards

Your Akron Zoo is hosting the first annual community awards! These awards will honor different individuals and organizations throughout the greater Akron community. The winners will be presented their award at a wild ceremony in spring 2024. 


  • Be the Change Citizen Award: Recognizes an individual who inspires lifelong learning and conservation action through exceptional volunteer service.
  • Unity Award for Community Partnership: Outstanding community partner that demonstrates exemplary leadership in building collaborative pathways for the greater good of Summit County.
  • Educational Excellence Scholarship: Demonstrates merit in creating excitement and stirring passion in others to become champion of our natural world through a STEM initiative.  
  • Metamorphosis Award for Transformational Leadership: Acknowledges the achievement as a change leader in Summit County while demonstrating exceptional leadership through commitment and dedication to making a positive impact within the county.


Nominations now open!

Be the Change Citizen Award


  • Nominee must have contributed to a conservation action or community inspiration in an extraordinary way. 
  • Nomination must demonstrate how his/her/their actions have inspired others to act. There must be a direct connection between the nominee and greater action to preserve our natural world.
  • The nominee demonstrates a willingness to give themselves through volunteer activism to educate and empower others to conservation action. 
  • The nominee sets an example by promoting lifelong learning and conservation action. 
  • Demonstrated effort to connect various community partners to the initiative showing a collaboration between multiple communities or community organizations.


  • Nominations must be made an individual, group, civic organization. Self-nominations are not permissible.
  • Nominee must be a resident of Summit County.
  • Nominee can be of any age. If nominating an individual under the age of 18, please provide the contact information for the parent and/or guardian. Parents and/or guardians will be contacted.
  • Successful nominations will include examples of how the nominee inspired others to action. Preference will be given to those applications that outline a direct connection from the nominee’s actions to change in others behaviors to be greater champions of our natural world.

Be the Change Award Nomination form

Unity Award for Community Partnership


  • Community partner who has a history of ongoing partnership with a Summit County organization.
  • Community partner who has demonstrated excellence in collaboration with a summit county organization to enhance its mission, vision or goals.
  • Shows exceptional leadership and achieved recognized results in building industry cooperation and unity.


  • Nominee must be an organization with a branch located in Summit County.
  • Nominations can originate from any organization provided the nominated organization is located in or has a branch located in or has a branch located in Summit County.
  • Individuals or employees from an organization may nominate his/her/their for-profit, nonprofit, or volunteer organization.

Unity Award Nomination Form

Educational Excellence Scholarship


  • A project, initiative or activity that has inspired others to champion our natural world through STEM.  Initiatives will be evaluated on the degree to which people have felt inspired to and then took action to help our natural world. Preference will be given to those projects where action has been taken or is scheduled to be taken within the calendar year.
  • The student should be directly involved in the creation and implementation of the project or initiative submitted.
  • The initiative should have a clearly visible impact on the community in a positive way.  Preference will be given to those initiatives with a clear evaluation plan and evidence based metrics to demonstrate impact. 
  • The degree to which the initiative/project used STEM to help champion the natural world.  Evaluation will be based on the variety of academic “subjects” (science, math, engineering, technology) as well as soft skills (public speaking, storytelling, visual communication, writing skills, etc.) used in the project or activity.


  • Students who are actively enrolled in a Summit County public, private or virtual school. Home schooled students are welcome to apply provided they can provide proof of residency in Summit County.
  • Grades 6-8 will be considered for Middle school and Grades 9-12 will be considered High School.
  • Initiatives must have taken place during the grade level the student is applying for. The student must be or have been in the assigned grade level within 12 months of applying for this award.
  • Anyone may nominate the students, students may nominate themselves.

Education Excellence Award Nomination Form

Metamorphosis Award for Transformational Leadership


  • Leader with a reputation for team-building, motivation and collaboration to accomplish change for the better.
  • Leader who has recognized the need for change and has created a vision to guide change. Change should be managed by inspiring others and using a collaborative process.
  • Leader who has taken an innovative approach, has demonstrated exceptional leadership, and shown results driven success within their team, group or organization.


  • The nominee must have significant leadership experience (12+ years) and be currently employed in a Summit County organization.
  • Self-nominations are permitted.
  • Successful nominations will demonstrate systems-thinking by effectively managing change through partnership, collaboration, and positive communication.

Metamorphosis Award Nomination Form