doc martens patent ‘Wildlife Docs’ host Rachel Reenstra returns to Michigan in upcoming episode
GRAND RAPIDS, MI The Emmy nominated show “Wildlife Docs,” hosted by Grand Rapids native Rachel Reenstra, will air an episode featuring her home state when Saturday’s show has the host traveling to northern Michigan.
The nationally syndicated program airs locally Oct. Saturdays. Reenstra, a Hope College graduate, hosts the program that focuses on the care for animals at Busch Garden Tampa’s Animal Care Center. They often volunteer their skills to wildlife projects around the world.
The upcoming episode was filmed in Manistee and showcases the American marten, a member of the weasel family once almost extinct in the region due to deforestation and hunting for furs. It has made a strong resurgence in Michigan.
“I moved to California to get work and now they keep sending me back home,” Reenstra said with a laugh. “It was really cool. My parents were there and got to see what their daughter does for a living.”
“The best part was I got to go into the field,” she added. “Usually I’m filming from (Busch Gardens). It was so exciting and it brought me back to my ‘Ms. Adventure’ days,
where I got to go and observe animals in their habitat.”
Reenstra hosted a show on Animal Planet in 2007 called “Ms. Adventure” where she traveled the world and compared animal and human behavior.
For the “Wildlife Docs” episode Reenstra was joined by GVSU’s Dr. Paul Keenlance who is leading research efforts on the Manistee National Forest marten population. She assisted Keenlance and Dr. Maria Spriggs, a veterinarian at Busch Gardens Tampa, with the radio tracking of radio collared martens.
“I got to do a bit of telemetry,” she said. “You know, the thing that looks like a big spork, to try and find the collared martens.”
Reenstra expressed the importance of what the doctors on the show do beyond caring for the animals at the park.
“They do so much more,” Reenstra said. “They are funded by the SeaWorld Conservation Fund and focus on rescue, rehabilitation and release. This is one of the first times I got to show people what they do. We really can bring some of these nearly extinct animals back.”
A repeat broadcast of the episode will also be aired on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28.
Reenstra will be back home in Grand Rapids for the holidays as she has been named as the Grand Marshal in this year’s Art Van Santa Parade on Nov. 21.