SAINT LOUIS- The Saint Louis Zoo announced Dec. 11 that former Wayne County, PA resident Kyle Ulmer has received one of four 2013 Hermann Foundation Outstanding Employee Awards. Ulmer is the Zoological Manager at Sea Lion Sound; he joined the zoo staff in 1997.

His parents John and Carol Ulmer, are residents of Hawley. Kyle Ulmer grew up on Lake Wallenpaupack.

Sixteen years ago, Ulmer began his career at the Saint Louis Zoo as an Assistant Sea Lion Trainer in the "old" Sea Lion Arena. Now he is responsible for managing the new Sea Lion Sound facility, sea lion trainers, and the First Bank Sea Lion Show. Through his guidance, the pinniped training program offers information on natural animal history, management, husbandry and conservation messaging in a fun, interesting and enriching show for the public.

He is also active in helping others learn how to train animals. Ulmer served as the Animal Training Forum co-chair and also planned and hosted the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association Midwest regional conference at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2013.

"Kyle’s expertise in husbandry and training and his deep love and appreciation for the sea lions and seal under his care shines through in everything he does," said Steve Bircher, Saint Louis Zoo Curator of Mammals/Carnivores. "He is committed not only to making sure the animals get the highest possible level of care and attention but to bringing joy and appreciation of these wonderful creatures to the thousands of guests who visit Sea Lion Sound."

Established in 1999, the Hermann Foundation Outstanding Employee Awards go to employees who have "demonstrated exemplary performance, behavior and/or service during the past year in their working relations, attention to safety, productivity/cost saving suggestions, ability to meet deadlines, initiative/originality, accomplishments that advance the Zoo’s mission, vision and core values, professional peer recognition, activities that bring recognition to the Zoo and customer service.

Named America’s #1 Zoo by Zagat Survey and Parenting Magazine, the Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, it attracts about 3,000,000 visitors a year.