Joanne Leidenberger really knows how to entertain and engage volunteers with projects and programs they are passionate about, helping others discover fulfilling volunteer roles with San Diego Zoo Global. As director of events and programs for the Zoo's development department for 20 years, Joanne is directly responsible for guiding the Zoo’s annual black-tie gala committees for Rendezvous In the Zoo (R•I•T•Z), and she oversees her team’s efforts on a multitude of donor recognition events, fund-raisers, exhibit openings, Cans for Critters youth program, Adopt an Animal, and Wish List, just to name a few. Joanne was instrumental years ago in bringing the very popular San Diego Zoo Food & Wine Celebration (formerly known as Celebration for the Critters) to the Zoo grounds.
Prior to being a staff member, Joanne was initially an active volunteer with the Zoo and helped establish its first volunteer program. An avid animal lover—including giant pandas, big cats, and elephants!—Joanne previously volunteered with the San Diego Humane Society when she first arrived in San Diego from Pennsylvania in 1980.
Joanne loves to travel and enjoys cuisines from all parts of the globe. She recently returned from a Zoo trip to Kenya, and made it her goal for all members of the group to have an enjoyable and rewarding journey: she has a special touch in bringing people together. With her varied background, Joanne understands how to make people comfortable and promises to make your trip to China one you will remember for a lifetime!
Cynthia Tuomi, research and stewardship manager for San Diego Zoo Global’s Development Department, is an avid world traveler whose adventures have extended from the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro to Budapest’s underground network of caves. She has lived in London and traveled extensively throughout Europe. She has also enjoyed wildlife preserves in Tanzania, historical sites in Beijing, scuba in Fiji and the Dominican Republic, and she spent two months exploring the east coast of Australia.
Cynthia is a San Diego native who has been frequenting the Zoo since she was an infant. She has worked in San Diego’s nonprofit community for the past 12 years, and her passion for wildlife and conservation led her to join the Zoo’s team in 2011. Since then she has helped generate support for Australian Outback at the Zoo, Tiger Trail at the Safari Park, and conservation efforts at the Institute for Conservation Research. She is a former competitive snowboarder who loves art and culture, backpacking, biking, hiking, cooking, and gardening. Cynthia is looking forward to returning to China as your escort and ensuring that your visit is one that you will remember for a lifetime!
Maggie Reinbold has been dedicated to saving biodiversity through science education and outreach for nearly 20 years. She is the founding member of the Conservation Education Division at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, where she serves as a liaison between Zoo researchers and the community. Her efforts are largely focused on designing relevant, hands-on activities in conservation science for use with students and teachers.
Maggie completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology at San Diego State University, with her graduate research focused on the population genetics of desert aquatic insects across the Baja California Peninsula. Maggie has taught science in a number of formal and informal settings and as an National Science Foundation science fellow, she spent several seasons in Arctic Alaska, bringing hands-on science education to unique and underserved communities on the North Slope. Her professional travels with the Zoo have taken her all over the world, including trips to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Madagascar, and Cameroon. Her personal travels have also taken her to many far off places including the Middle East, Europe, and Central America.
One of her most memorable and life-changing trips was to the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica in 2010. She and her husband, Brad (a fellow biologist), were absolutely astounded at the diversity of species roaming freely through the forests around them! They had personal encounters with tamanduas, sloths, iguanas, macaws, howler monkeys, tayras, coatimundis, poison dart frogs, spider monkeys, toucans, and leafcutter ants! Maggie is looking forward to sharing her experiences in Central America and her knowledge about the natural world with the families who travel with her to Costa Rica in 2014.
Kea Spurrier, associate director of individual giving for the Development Department, is an avid world traveler who has lived in Greece and traveled extensively through Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, China, and Australia. She is passionate about animals and conservation, and has helped generate support for the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the conservation efforts of the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. A favorite campaign Kea worked on generated support to build a new home for the Zoo’s Galápagos tortoises. Kea’s travel interests include exploring rain forests and other ecosystems to see animals in the wild, visiting archeological or historically significant sites, and browsing through museums that house amazing art.