During the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Annual Conference, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium’s very own Amanda Hodo, Aquarium Biologist I, was selected as one of the four winners of the “Find Your Heroes” video contest.

The contest, hosted by AZA and judged in part by Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom host Stephanie Arne, called for staff and volunteers from accredited facilities to submit a video showcasing why they were a ‘hero’ for conservation, education, and the environment. Out of 95 contestants, judges selected 10 finalists, which were then featured on AZA social media and website for public voting. During the Annual Conference in Seattle, the winners were announced, including Amanda.

Amanda’s video, below, showcased her commitment to high quality animal care and conservation, through her participation in the lined seahorse Species Survival Plan (SSP), as well as her dedication to highlighting the importance of increasing diversity in the marine science and STEM fields.

We want to congratulate the other three winners on their amazing work and dedication to animal care and conservation around the world. Congrats to: Donnie Alverson from San Diego Zoo Global, Josh Lucas from Oklahoma City Zoo, and Rachael Rost from Topeka Zoo. On behalf of everyone at Mote, we want to send our deepest gratitude to all of those who voted and supported Amanda along the way. Thank you to the judges as well for highlighting Amanda’s undeniable heroism.

Learn more about AZA, the independent accreditation body that indicates Mote Aquarium’s commitment to the highest caliber of animal care and welfare, on their website here.