Public Relations: Rick Lobello
Born and raised in Western New York State, about an hour south of Niagara Falls, Rick has lived in West Texas since moving to Alpine in 1974 where he earned his Masters Degree in Biology from Sul Ross State University. For over 43 years Rick has dedicated his life to conservation education. After working and living in national parks as a park ranger, researcher and administrator, Rick developed a vision for his life that would enable him to use his talents to promote the conservation of wildlife habitats and endangered species around the world. In 1970 during his freshman year at William Jewell College, Rick was inspired by the nation’s first Earth Day marking the birth of the present modern day environmental movement. Working as a Zoological Curator at the Kansas City Museum of History and Science, Rick was mentored by Dr. Richard Baldauf, the Director of Education and former head of the Wildlife Department at Texas A & M. After being elected to represent his class in the Student Senate, Rick formed the college’s first Student Environmental Council. In 1974 the council sponsored a full week of Earth Day activities focusing on habitat conservation, efforts to create a Tall Grass Prairie National Park in Kansas, endangered species, air and water pollution and the dangers of nuclear power. In demonstrating his commitment to international conservation, in 1994 Rick personally sponsored an environmental education project in Zambia at North Luangwa National Park. Working closely with the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Owens Foundation, he designed and published an environmental education guide for school children living near the park. Rick’s leadership skills have resulted in a number of noteworthy projects including new publications and a membership and seminar program at Big Bend National Park, ongoing efforts to help create a US/Mexico International Peace Park, directing an award winning multi-media education program at Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, establishing the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition, and developing a conservation action focused education program at the El Paso Zoo. Rick’s writings have been published in park brochures and newspapers, trade journals and in nationally distributed magazines like Defenders of Wildlife and Texas Parks and Wildlife. During his tenure at Big Bend National Park his writings and other advocacy efforts helped to call attention to the status of rare mammals in the park including the endangered Mexican black bear population that began a natural recolonization in the park from Mexico during the late 1980s. Rick’s accomplishments have been recognized and honored by high-level government officials in the Department of the Interior and by Rotary International. In 2002 Rick became the Education Curator of the El Paso Zoo where he works on a wide variety of conservation projects both locally and regionally. In 2009 on behalf of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International Rick authored Guide to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park: Home to Critically Endangered Mountain Gorillas available on Amazon.com. His travels over the years have taken him to various parts of North America, Costa Rica, Europe, the Middle East, Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya and China.