Metro Parks Tacoma

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Agency Awards

2015 AWARDS

  • King 5 TV Viewers' Poll - Evening Magazine's The Best of Western Washington
    • Best Playground - Point Defiance Park
    • Best Fun Place for Kids - Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
  • King 5 TV Viewers' Poll - Evening Magazine's The Best Northwest Escapes
    • Best Neighborhood Park - Point Defiance Park
    • Best Family Outing - Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
    • Best Wildlife Watching Destination - Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
  • South Sound Magazine Readers' Poll - The Best of the South Sound
    • Best Park: Point Defiance Park
  • NorthwestMilitary.com Best of Tacoma - Named Metro Parks Tacoma has Best Pierce County-based Instagram

2014 AWARDS

  • City of Destiny Awards
    • Ron Rzewnicki - Youth Mentorship City of Destiny Award Winner. Ron teaches adult cooking classes at STAR Center & volunteers to teach youth cooking
    • The Tacoma Nature Center Park Stewards - Environmental Sustainability city of Destiny Award Winners.
  • King 5 TV Viewers' Poll - Evening Magazine's The Best Northwest Escapes
    • Best Neighborhood Park - Point Defiance Park
    • Best Family Outing - Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
    • Best Wildlife Watching Destination - Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
  • South Sound Magazine Readers' Poll - The Best of the South Sound
    • Best Travel & Recreation/Park: Point Defiance Park

2013 AWARDS

  • City of Destiny Awards
    • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Zoo Guides - City of Destiny Award in the youth group category. 
    • Tatiana Mason - City of Destiny Youth Service award for inspiring countless young children through her volunteer work at the Tacoma Nature Center.
  • The State Department of Archaeology and Historic - Special Achievement Award for the “meticulous restoration of the Point Defiance Park Pagoda."
  • Washington Parks and Recreation Association (WRPA)
    • STAR Center - Spotlight Award – Best Facility
    • Specialized Recreation - Spotlight Award - Cultural Competency
    • Browns Point Athletic Complex – Best Class 1 Sports Complex
  • King 5 TV Viewers' Poll - Evening Magazine's The Best Northwest Escapes
    • Best Neighborhood Park - Point Defiance Park
2011 AWARDS
  • American Planning Association award to Point Defiance Park as one of 10 Great Public Spaces.  Read More

2010 AWARDS

  • Cascade Land Conservancy presented Metro Parks with the Cascade Agenda Leadership Award in recognition of our network of destination and neighborhood parks, recreation programs and willingness to collaborate with community members.
  • The district earned a Clean Audit from the Washington State Auditor for the 11th year in a row for its financial controls and accounting practices.

2009 AWARDS

  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was honored with three national awards:
    • The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) awarded the zoo its highest honor for animal enrichment.
    • The AAZK also granted keepers at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater a certificate of merit for zoo keeper education.
    • The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators' honored Wild Wonders staff with show behavior of the year.
  • Fort Nisqually was awarded the Washington Museum Association's Publication Award of Excellence for Occurrences (the Fort's quarterly professional publication).
  • Metro Parks won seven Summit Awards from Washington Festivals & Events Association
    • First Night Tacoma
      •   Silver - Festival Newspaper Insert
      •   Gold - Souvenir Pin/Souvenir Button
      •   Bronze - T-Shirt Design
      •   Gold - Web Site
    • Showcase Tacoma
      •   Bronze - Festival Newspaper Insert
    • Flower and Garden Show
      •   Silver - Festival Newspaper Insert
      •   Silver - Festival Promotional Brochure

2008 AWARDS

  • The Tacoma Weekly presented commissioners with four Readers Choice awards from the paper's annual 'Best of Tacoma' poll:
    • Best Place to Relax in Tacoma: W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory
    • Best Park in Tacoma: Point Defiance Park
    • Best Place to Take Kids in Tacoma: Point Defiance Park
    • Best Zoo Exhibit: Polar Bears, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
  • The Washington Recreation and Parks Association selected First Night to receive its 2008 Spotlight Program Award of Excellence in the Events, Fairs and Festivals category.  Metro Parks staff were instrumental in bringing back First Night to Tacoma.
  • The Nisqually River Council presented their 2007 Sustainability Award for "Environment" to Northwest Trek in recognition of their more than thirty years of environmental education in the Nisqually Watershed and for being on the forefront of sustainable forest management practices – all of which resulted in Northwest Trek receiving the coveted Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification.
  • Northwest Trek Wildlife Park moved up in the EnviroStar ratings by the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Dept. to the highest honor - five out of a possible five stars. Trek was the first recreational facility in Pierce County to achieve recognition by EnviroStars, a five-county effort in western Washington encouraging appropriate handling of hazardous and solid waste (Trek received a four-star rating in 2006).

2007 AWARDS

  • The Washington State Auditor's Office presented Metro Parks with a positive report for its financial controls and accounting practices.
  • PDZA's Red Wolf Recovery Program received the North America Conservation Award at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) annual meeting for their part in bringing red wolves back from the brink of extinction and helping re-establish the species in the wild. The zoo began its red wolf breeding project in 1973.
  • AZA also renewed a full five-year accreditation for PDZA at that conference. The AZA is a nonprofit organization that currently accredits 216 zoos in North America, in addition to offering professional training and conservation initiatives. Accreditation criteria include the highest quality of animal management and care, enrichment, conservation, research, education, safety, facilities, guest services, and staff.
  • The Washington Recreation and Parks Association selected Metro Parks' Summer Sounds and Comcast Outdoor Cinema to receive its 2007 Spotlight Award of Merit for Best Event, Fair or Festival.
  • Metro Parks won four awards from Washington Festivals & Events Association
    • Silver for Best Community Service Program: Summer Sounds & Cinema
    • Bronze for Best Community Service Program: Battle of the Idols
    • Silver in Marketing: Summer Sounds & Cinema radio spot
    • Silver in Marketing: Ethnic Fest Poster
  • Finance staff received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the district's comprehensive annual financial reporting (CAFR). 
    • The Tacoma Weekly presented commissioners with five Readers Choice awards from the paper's annual 'Best of Tacoma' poll:
      • Best Picnic Area: Titlow Beach and Park
      • Best Pool: Titlow Pool
      • Best Park: Point Defiance Park
      • Best Place to Take Kids: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
      • Best Zoo Exhibit: The Aquarium

2006 AWARDS

  • Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium was recognized with two national awards and a cash prize at the annual conferrence of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
    • The Zoo was honored with the Munson Aquatic Conservation Exhibitry (M.A.C.E.) Award given by the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation for the seahorse exhibit. The seahorse exhibit was conceived, created and constructed by our zoo staff.
  • The Zoo was honored with AZA's top Education Award for its Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater live animal program. The is a fresh approach to live animal programming that encourages visitors to get outdoors and in nature.
  • The Washington Recreation and Parks Association selected Metro Parks Tacoma's Battle of the Idols to receive its 2006 Spotlight Award of Excellence for Best Event, Fair or Festival. 
  • Metro Parks won six awards from Washington Festivals & Events Association
    • Event category: budget $50k-200k
      • Silver for promo merchandise item: Centennial playing cards
      • Gold for best overall promotional campaign: Centennial
    • Event category: budget under $50k
      •   Bronze for Sea Kayak Symposium poster
      •   Silver for Sea Kayak Symposium program
      •   Silver for best overall promotional campaign: Sea Kayak Symposium
      •   Gold for best promo item: Tacoma Idol CD

2005 AWARDS

  • The fire hydrant water fountain at Rogers Dog Park, East 34th and East L Streets, was awarded the Maintenance Idea of the Year by the International Northwest Parks & Recreation Association (INPRA). A 1962 fire hydrant was converted to a dog's fantasy watering hole on a bone-shaped cement pad. The two-level fountain even has a place for dog owners to quench their thirst. Metro Parks Tacoma employees Mike Nelson, plumber, Wayne Knutson, welder, and Robert Bitz, carpenter, were recognized for their creativity and workmanship.
  • SERA was named an 'Outstanding Park' at the NSA (National Softball Association) national conference. Kudos to Jeff Pudists, Rob Ruth, Corky Carmichael and Jeff Briggs who work tirelessly to make SERA one of the premier softball complexes in the Northwest. Kudos also to Nathan Wade and all the gate staffers who keep the complex open and running for all programs.
  • For the sixth year in a row, the Washington State Auditor's Office found Metro Parks Tacoma to be in compliance with state laws and regulations and government auditing standards.
  • Metro Parks Tacoma was selected by the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission to receive an award for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. The commission stated that "Your accomplishments with the restoration of the Seymour Conservatory and the Wright Park Master Plan demonstrate the importance of historic preservation to the residents of Tacoma. Your commitment to Tacoma's architectural legacy is appreciated."

2004 AWARDS

  • For the fifth year in a row, the Washington State Auditor's Office found Metro Parks Tacoma to be in compliance with state laws and regulations and goverment auditing standards.
  • Three awards were presented to Metro Parks at the International Northwest Recreation and Parks Association (INPRA) annual meeting.
    • The Conservatory's spectacular gift shop won the award for Design of the Year. A team of Conservatory and greenhouse staff drafted, designed and constructed the gift shop after outside bids came in too high for our budget.
    • The Maintence Idea of the Year also went to Metro Parks for a picnic shelter counter and sink designed and installed at Point Defiance Park. The counter and sink are more functional than older designs and virtually indestructible.
    • INPRA's Distinguished Service Award went to Metro Parks' Steve Potter who has made major volunteer contributions to the organization for over 10 years. He plays an active role in producing the newsletter, created a photo history of INPRA events and activities and most recently, created a video tribute to the late Jim Webster, for whom the Distinguished Service Award is named.
  • The Weekly Volcano (as part of their Volcano Awards) recognized the Tacoma Little Theatre for "Best Outreach or Community Program" for their Straw Hat Theatre partnership with Metro Parks Tacoma.
  • The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) awarded the restoration of the 1855 Factor's House at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum a Certificate of Commendation.
  • The Washington Museum Association chose the 1855 Factor's House Restoration Project as the recipient of the WMA Award of Project Excellence for 2004.
  • The Washington Recreation and Parks Association honored Metro Parks Tacoma with three awards:
    • The leisure pool at Stewart Heights Park received a Spotlight Facility & Parks Award of Excellence for outstanding and/or unique achievements in parks and recreation facility design and/or development.
    • The Summer Fun Camps Brochure received a Spotlight Media Award of Merit for best brochure.
    • The SPARX brochure detailing Metro Parks youth development programs for middle school students received an Honorable Mention Spotlight Media Award in the best brochure category.

2003 AWARDS

  • The Board recognized Skip Vaughn for receiving the International Northwest Parks & Recreation Association's "Citizen of the Year" award. Vaughn was recognized for his tireless, outspoken advocacy for neighborhood parks and open spaces since 1989 and his key role in ensuring the 80-acre parcel now known as Wapato Hills Park was set aside for park and open space, including a 14-acre neighborhood park. A four-acre playground, named for Skip and his wife Laura, opened in 2002.
  • The Board recognized the Management & Budget department for receiving the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the current biennium (beginning January 1, 2003) from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA).
  • Goodwill Industries honored Metro Parks as Large Employer of the Year for 2002 at its Annual Awards Breakfast at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall.
  • For the tenth straight year, Tacoma was named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day foundation in recognition of its commitment to an effective, ongoing community forestry program.
  • Metro Parks received four awards at the WRPA Annual Conference at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson:
    • The Wapato Hills Neighborhood Park project received the Association's Award of Merit for 2003 for Facilities and Parks.
    • Sportswatch, our yearly calendar of sports activities, received an Award of Excellence as the best large city brochure.
    • Our new Web site received an Award of Excellence as the best large city Web site pages.
    • The Summer Sounds Concert Series poster received an Award of Excellence