What does it mean to be an AZA Hero?
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Heroes video contest is an effort to motivate people to get involved with conservation, support AZA zoos and aquariums, and inspire future generations to enter related professions. In 2019, a national multi-platform media campaign will share the mission and spirit of AZA through the stories of four “heroes”.
Crowdsourcing from member organizations, AZA received 95 submissions from prospective “heroes”. They narrowed the field down to 10 finalists, including TWO from the Oklahoma City Zoo! Votes from the public will help determine the four winners to be featured in the nationwide media campaign! Now through Wednesday, September 12, everyone can vote online DAILY to support the Zoo’s AZA Heroes, Amy Mathews and Josh Lucas.
AMY MATHEWS, SENIOR ELEPHANT CARETAKER
- Hometown: Ridge, Maryland
- Time in Oklahoma City: Five years
- Relationship: Married husband, Trevor, in June; together 6 years
- Education: Zoology bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University; graduating in December with Masters in Administrative Leadership from OU
- Professional Organizations: Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Elephant Managers Association, American Association of Zookeepers
- International Conservation Efforts: Belize, Costa Rica, Kenya
- Fun facts: Never lost a game of SORRY!; Travelled to 47 states
GO VOTE NOW!
JOSH LUCAS, LEAD HERPETOLOGY CARETAKER
- Hometown: Austin, Texas
- Time in Oklahoma City: Six Years
- Relationship: Married to former zookeeper, current physical therapy doctoral student, Sonia
- Education: Zoology bachelor’s degree from OU; currently pursuing master’s degree in conservation biology from UCO
- Professional Organizations: Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA), Turtle Conservancy, Jatun Sacha Foundation
- International Conservation Efforts: Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Madagascar
- Upcoming: On behalf of the TSA and as part of his Master’s thesis Josh is leading a team across a multi-year effort to reintroduce 10,000 radiated tortoises recovered from illegal pet traders in Madagascar
- Fun facts: He turned his entire backyard and part of his house into a large habitat or “tort-a-dise” with 16 turtles and tortoises
GO VOTE NOW!
To cast your vote, visit the AZA Heroes website, then scroll to the bottom, make your selection, then click "SUBMIT".
About the AZA
The AZA represents more than 230 institutions in the United States and overseas, including the Oklahoma City Zoo, which collectively draw more than 183 million visitors every year. These institutions meet the highest standards in animal care and provide a fun, safe, and educational family experience. In addition, they dedicate millions of dollars to support scientific research, conservation, and education programs.