Louisville Zoo Volunteer Awards

The Louisville Zoo’s mission is to better the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in conservation education.

Volunteers are integral to this goal as we educate, entertain and involve diverse groups of people from all walks of life. It takes work, dedication and many, many helping hands to make your Louisville Zoo a world-class, award-winning destination for family fun.

2022 Winners

Jonathon Michael Heaton Award

This award is given out each year to an outstanding youth volunteer.  The award is named after Jonathon Michael Heaton who gave over 3,000 volunteer hours to the Zoo before passing away in 1999 from a heart attack, due to a congenital heart condition.  His dedication and memory are kept alive through this award.

The 2022 winner is Lilly Hotkewitz.  She was nominated by Gorilla Forest keeper Alexis Williamson who said, “Lily has gone above and beyond in her volunteer duties. Never needing to be guided, she always finds things to do until staff assigns her another task. She started as a teen volunteer in the summer of 2017 but chose to continue volunteering on the weekends once school went back into session. She has been an invaluable asset as a volunteer and as a member of the Louisville Zoo Youth Board.”

Pictured above are members of Jonathon Michael Heaton’s family as well as Lilly Hotkewitz;  Zoo Director, Daniel Maloney; and Coordinator of Volunteers, Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor Spirit Award

The award is named after Coordinator of Volunteers, Diane Taylor for her 30+ years of service.  It recognizes an adult volunteer who exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism through service and dedication.

The 2022 Diane Taylor Spirit Award winner is Katy Nuss. Kathy has amassed over 15,500 volunteer hours as an Emeritus Docent. The commissary staff said, “Kathy always comes in with a big smile on her face and is always eager to help with whatever duties we assign. She’s a fast learner and isn’t afraid to ask questions. She is a big help and a joy to have in the commissary; she makes our days better with her joyful personality.”

Pictured above Zoo Director Dan Maloney, Emeritus Docent Kathy Nuss and Coodinator of Volunteers Diane Taylor.

Below, see a list of award-winning volunteers who have been recognized for their outstanding volunteer work at the Louisville Zoo!

Diane Taylor Spirit Award Winners

 Winners Year 
Lawrence Smith 2005
Allen Mikel 2006
Judith Tucker 2007
Lynzi Mikel 2008
Anne Ramsey 2009
Karen Nelson 2010
Trudy Fischer 2010
Terry Feathers 2011
Marvin Snyder 2012
Michael Mathis 2013
Anthony Schneider 2014
Keith Watson 2015
Rebecca Bockelman 2016
Donald Blanton 2017
David Bonham 2018
Susan Allen 2018
Chris Ramser 2019
Mark Goeing 2020
Wanda & William Jackson 2021
Kathy Nuss 2022

Jonathan Michael Heaton Winners

 Winners Year 
Leslie Edington 1999
Peter Lindle 2000
Sean Cooper 2001
Allen Mikel 2002
Natasha Rodgers 2003
Allen Mikel 2004
Noah Carl 2005
Davor Kusec 2006
Trae Marr 2007
Stanley Strader 2008
Rachel Pardee 2009
Tyler Hardin 2010
Mary Kaelin 2011
Christian Perkins 2012
Joshua McVicker 2012
Rebekah Carson 2013
Michelle Boyken 2014
Kun Lin 2015
Savannah Robinson 2016
Carl Grief 2017
Jacob Brady 2018
Jasmine Benningfield 2019
Andrew John Chumbley 2020
Nikolas (Niko) Jones 2021
Lily Hotkewitz 2022

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