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Releasing local frogs and toads through our Frogs in the Classroom pilot program

UNLESS Contest Awarded

(Philadelphia, PA) – September 21, 2020– Philadelphia Zoo is proud to announce the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation UNLESS™ Contest (The UNLESS Contest) has been awarded the prestigious, national Innovation Education Award at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Annual 2020 Conference, the largest, most comprehensive zoo and aquarium professionals’ event in the country. Selected by peers from 240 zoos and aquariums across the country, the Innovation Education Award recognizes outstanding achievement in educational program design, judging programs on the ability to promote conservation knowledge, attitudes and behavior, show innovation, and measure success.

“We are very proud of the impact our UNLESS Contest has had on the tens of thousands of students from around our region, says Vikram H. Dewan, President & CEO, Philadelphia Zoo. “We are honored to be recognized by our esteemed colleagues for our efforts in encouraging future generations to become passionate conservation-minded citizens.  This award reflects our mission, vision, commitment and creativity to connecting others with wildlife and the world we all share,” says Dewan.

Now in its 9th year, the UNLESS™ Contest, has empowered thousands of K-12 students to take action for wildlife. Executed as a year-long, project-based contest, UNLESS encourages students to create real solutions to environmental issues in their lives. Since its inception in 2011, the UNLESS Contest has:

  •  Engaged over 55,000 students from more than 400 schools across the region
  • Reduced 1,212,000 pounds of carbon (through e.g. switching to CFL light bulbs, school-wide lights out campaigns)
  • Diverted 37,930 pounds of waste from landfills
  • Recycled 13,000 plastic bags
  • Raised $14,000 for wildlife conservation
  • Planted 653 trees
  • Created/restored 103 habitat locations
  • Distributed 800 water-saving products
  • Reached 16,900,000 people through student conservation messaging

The Zoo is set to launch this year’s UNLESS Contest, registration for the 2020-2021 school year opens October 1st. For more information visit