Like many children growing up in San Diego, Maggie Aleksic spent a lot of time at the San Diego Zoo visiting the animals. A nature-lover from the start, Maggie often played “keeper” at home and would bring injured snakes, birds, and rabbits into the house, much to her parents’ dismay. Eventually she learned to leave wildlife rescue to the experts, but one thing was clear: Maggie would work for Zoo one day and make a career of helping animals.
For the past seven years, Maggie has worked with San Diego Zoo Global’s Development team to help raise funds for the Zoo and Safari Park. As a Major Gifts Officer, she works closely with the Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, where she is able to support the Zoo’s global effort to protect wildlife and habitats.
Maggie loves to travel and explore different cultures, and believes in the adage that one’s destination isn’t just a place: it’s a new way of seeing things. A past Zoo escort to the People’s Republic of China, Maggie is excited for her upcoming adventure with the San Diego Zoo to Botswana.
San Diego native Georgeanne Irvine has devoted more than three decades of her career to raising awareness about animals and wildlife conservation. By day, she is associate director of communications for the development department of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, where she has worked for more than 36 years. In her spare time “George” is the author of more than 20 children’s books, including the Zoo World series published by Simon & Schuster, plus numerous magazine, newspaper, and web articles. George’s most recent work is the coffee table book, “The Katrina Dolphins: One-Way Ticket to Paradise,” which is a true story about 8 dolphins from an oceanarium who were washed out to sea during Hurricane Katrina and dramatically rescued.
George’s passions are travel, photography, storytelling, Broadway musicals, and, of course, animals and conservation. Her worldwide adventures have taken her to some of the wildest places on Earth—from the jungles of Borneo and South America to the forests and wetlands of India to the mountains of China as well as the savannas of Africa and Australia’s Outback. She is looking forward to exploring Madagascar with our WorldWild Tours travelers and is excited to see lemurs and other unique animals in their native habitat.
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.