Detroit Zoological Society Humane Youth Award

Ford Education Center, building exterior

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) recognizes youth who help animals through an annual Detroit Zoological Society Humane Youth Award. This award celebrates young people who have a positive impact on the lives of animals at a Humane Youth Event in the fall.

Nominations are currently closed. Please check back later.

  • Nomination Process

    Nominees for the Humane Youth Award will be gathered through an open submission process. Standard nominations as well as self-nominations will be accepted. Nominees must be youth, kindergarten through twelfth grade. There are no restrictions as to where nominees reside.

    All submissions will require a completed application form, which will include a description of the student-led initiative, up to three samples of the project or work (e.g., photos, videos, articles, websites, etc.) and up to three letters of reference.

  • Selection Process

    As submissions are collected, DZS staff will begin the selection process utilizing a rubric. All projects should be student-led.

    Suggested points of interest for submissions may include how students:

    • Create awareness of animal issues
    • Foster empathy for animals
    • Take action for animals
    • Demonstrate leadership skills
    • Initiate impactful, long-term solutions
    • Include community involvement/reach
    • Developed a unique/innovative idea


    A nomination does not need to include all of the above to be accepted.

    Once the selection process is complete, DZS staff will notify the winners.

  • Categories of Awards

    The DZS will issue two awards:

    • Kindergarten-fifth grade individual
    • Sixth grade-12th grade individual

  • Past Winners


    Henry Plummer, a 10-year-old animal advocate from Negaunee, Michigan, is our first Detroit Zoological Society Humane Youth Award winner. Henry was nominated for the award by staff at SASHA Farm, a sanctuary and safe haven for farm animals in Manchester, Michigan. They were so impressed by Henry’s commitment to protecting wildlife and engaging his community to join his efforts, which included a birthday fundraising campaign for SASHA Farm.

    In addition to his support for SASHA Farm, Henry maintains a vegan lifestyle, engages his friends in animal advocacy and raises money for animal welfare organizations. He is helping people help animals, which is the mission of the DZS’s Berman Academy for Humane Education, as well as this inaugural award. The DZS, along with many of Henry’s references, see so much potential in him, and know that he will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of animals in the future.