Cindy Roberts, a former staff biologist at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, recently received the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Nico van Strien Leadership in Conservation Award. Cindy was recognized for her extensive work with polar bears and her passion and commitment to helping polar bears in the wild.
Cindy founded Party for Polar Bears in 2015, which has raised over $25,000 in the last seven years, with all proceeds going to Polar Bears International. The event takes place annually around International Polar Bear Day on Feb. 27.
“Cindy was dedicated to the needs of the animals in her care and was particularly knowledgeable about our puffin/murre colony and polar bears,” said Malia Somerville, the Zoo’s curator for marine mammals and birds. She adds, “Cindy was an excellent communicator with our guests and gave a great keeper talk!”
Through her work with Polar Bears International (PBI) and the annual Party for Polar Bears, Cindy impacted many people’s understanding of and commitment to polar bears and other Arctic wildlife.
Cindy is still involved with polar bear conservation, volunteering as the Conference Liaison for the “Trees for You and Me” program through AAZK. As a Field Ambassador for Polar Bears International, she will soon travel to Churchill, Manitoba for two weeks to educate tourists from around the world about polar bears and PBI’s leadership in education and research.
AAZK has over 100 local chapters across the U.S. and Canada, including the Point Defiance AAZK Chapter, which nominated Cindy for the award. Cindy received the award at the annual National AAZK conference in Toronto, Canada.
“I am so honored to receive this award and am thankful for all the support I’ve received from family, friends, co-workers as well as Point Defiance AAZK, Point Defiance Zoo and The Zoo Society,” said Cindy. “It was a privilege to care for polar bears Kenny, Boris, Blizzard and Glacier and share them with zoo guests and people all over the world. This award further inspires me to continue my polar bear conservation efforts in their honor.”