Since 1987, the City of Tacoma has honored over 200 outstanding local volunteers through its City of Destiny Awards program. This year, six volunteers from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium were chosen as 2021 City of Destiny Award recipients.
In the “Youth Service” category, Zoo Senior Guides Enjoli Shaw and Logan Cornwell took home the prize. Their leadership helped keep many of the youth volunteers at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium connected to the Zoo during the pandemic, by emailing the other volunteers updates about happenings around the Zoo and connecting on video platforms to stay in touch.
Shaw and Cornwell were also the lead actors in a video highlighting six parks in Tacoma for the students at Arlington Elementary, as part of the Wildlife Champions program. They shared unique features of each park, highlighting their favorite animals. These videos encouraged the students to get outside, visit a new park and see if they could find the same features.
Other accomplishments of Cornwell include: leading the 2020 virtual Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, leading the Orcas Love Raingardens workgroup and making a video for Tacoma Ocean Fest 2020 showing how you can reduce the use of single-use or disposable plastics.
Other accomplishments of Shaw include: creating virtual engagement for the Conservation Engagement department at the Zoo, planning fun events and contests among the youth volunteers and starting a letter-writing campaign to advocate for sustainable products in big box stores.
“Logan and Enjoli’s leadership and involvement allows the Zoo to reach more youths throughout the Tacoma and Puget Sound region,” said volunteer program coordinator Stacey Luhring. “These young adults make us excited for the next generation of conservationists. We are in good hands with them at the lead.”
The Zoo’s horticulture volunteer team won the City of Destiny award for the category “Creating Tacoma Destinations.” Volunteers Tony Ciocca, Larry Clark, Caitlin Harris and Scott Murdock have spent a combined total of 1,590 hours volunteering over the last six years. This dedicated team of volunteers stepped up to help Point Defiance Zoo catch up on much-needed maintenance after the Zoo was closed for 93 days due to the pandemic.
This team is instrumental in maintaining the Zoo’s 29-acres of landscapes and horticultural collection. Collectively, this group can be counted on to notice many of the smallest details around grounds needing attention; from plants exhibiting unhealthy symptoms, to weeds needing removed, or soil that could benefit from a fresh layer of added mulch for added nutrients and moisture retention for roots. All of this is essential to maintaining excellent plant health and creating beautiful grounds for our guests to experience.
“Larry, Tony, Caitlin and Scott arrive each week enthusiastic and willing to tackle anything, no matter the weather,” said lead horticulturist Bryon Jones. “We are grateful for their passion in creating an amazing botanical experience here at the Zoo, one that is increasingly recognized throughout the Northwest as a destination for plant lovers to visit.”
Interested in volunteering at the Zoo? Learn more here.
To see a complete list of 2021 City of Destiny award winners, click here.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and the Tacoma City Council will recognize the zoo volunteers, as well as the other recipients, during a virtual ceremony on June 26 at 6 p.m. on TV Tacoma, TV Tacoma’s Live Stream and the event will also stream on Facebook Live.