Zoo Director Lee Ann Whitt honored with prestigious Dunbar Award
On January 18, Zoo Director Lee Ann Whitt and 11 other Louisiana civil service employees were honored with the Charles E. Dunbar, Jr. Career Civil Service Award.
The Dunbar Award is the highest honor classified state employees can receive for their service to the citizens of Louisiana. Bestowed by the Louisiana Civil Service League, the award recognizes local, state and municipal civil service employees who distinguish themselves through unselfish service over and above the call of duty.
From zoo volunteer to Education Curator to Director, Whitt has played a crucial role in developing Alexandria Zoological Park into a treasured community attraction and a partner in global wildlife conservation.
With the philosophy that "a zoo is never finished," she has worked every day to continually improve Alexandria Zoo's animal care, facilities, employee work environment, and guest experience in order to provide the citizens of Alexandria and Central Louisiana (as well as visitors to our community) with a quality recreational and educational facility they can be proud of.
Throughout her 30-year career, Whitt has been committed to connecting people to nature and cultivating their love of animals into a desire to save wildlife and wild places for future generations. She has overseen the design and development of new and renovated exhibits and facilities on campus, and as Education Curator, she built the Zoo’s Education Department from the ground up.
Always working to find innovative ways to enhance the guest experience, she has developed and implemented countless special events, on-site classes and activities, and outreach programs that provide all ages and abilities in our community with recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities.
Under Whitt's leadership, Alexandria Zoo has remained continuously accredited by the AZA since 1986 and is one of only two accredited zoos in Louisiana.
The award, named after the founder of the League, Charles E. Dunbar, Jr., has recognized over 800 classified public employees in Louisiana since its inception in 1958.