A Star in the Conservation Community

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Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego County high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s Website!

In 1987, there were only 22 California condors left on the planet. With the help of San Diego Zoo Global and other wildlife organizations, there are over 400 condors today, which include 240 condors living in the wild. Saving the California condor wasn’t just about breeding more, it was also about educating the public on why their population was decreasing and how we could get the general public to help. Maggie Reinbold is one of the valuable components spreading education awareness about the California condor.

Maggie Reinbold, the Associate Director of Conservation Education at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in genetics. In college, she researched genetic populations of desert aquatic insects in Baja California. Mrs. Reinbold first joined the Institute for Conservation Research in 2005 as a summer research fellow in the Genetics Division and has been an active part in the Zoo’s mission of preserving species and the environment ever since. Her position as Associate Director for Conservation Education consists of teaching workshops and being a liaison between the scientific community and the general public. Through these responsibilities, she is able to inform the public and draw awareness to the many problems adversely affecting species in our area and all over the world. Bringing awareness to people outside the scientific community is vital to making the vision of San Diego Zoo realistic.

A typical day at work for Mrs. Reinbold can vary greatly. You may find her teaching a workshop to students about the California condors, their place in the environment, their past struggles, and their current comeback. You could find her at a college or high school lecturing the class about how the discovery of the Polymerase Chain Reaction by Kary B. Mullis contributed to the preservation of the condors and many other endangered species. She could be found engaging in field research working with various species on the brink of endangerment and extinction. Specifically, on Thursday, you would have found her teaching a class of excited high school interns how to pipette condor DNA, polymerase, and universal primer. In the end, no matter where she is or what she is doing, conservation education is being spread by her devotion to teaching all ages what is actually happening to our Earth.

One of Mrs. Reinbold’s greatest passions is appreciating the Earth. Mrs. Reinbold is one, along with many others, who live to preserve and promote biodiversity. Her self-stated “life’s work” is to spread her hero’s, Edward O. Wilson, message of the individual importance of each species in the biosphere as a whole. She believes, wholeheartedly and rightfully so, that biodiversity must be valued more so than practically any other element that humanity is involved with. New “converts” of all ages emerge daily to the conservation mission through Mrs. Reinbold’s capturing lectures and hands-on demonstrations. She is, without a doubt, one of the most necessary and important people in the conservation community.

Wesley, Careers Team
Fall Session 2014