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Leo Finkenbinder

College of Arts and Sciences

Biological Sciences

Ph.D., 1981, University of Oklahoma
M.S., 1968, Oklahoma State University
B.S., 1963, Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Engaging students with God’s creation and teaching them about Christian stewardship of God’s resources is a passion for Dr. Finkenbinder. He began teaching at ONU in 2007 after 35 years at Southern Nazarene University.

While at SNU, he developed the environmental studies program. He and his wife, Zana, also set up a biological field research station in Costa Rica. Olivet students have the opportunity to study there on field trips.

Since 1986, Dr. Finkenbinder has focused on the ecological analysis of the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno) in his personal research. This bird, a god of Mayan and Aztec cultures, is one of the most culturally significant modern animals and is highly endangered.

Through his studies, Dr. Finkenbinder has helped conserve and restore this bird’s habitat in Costa Rica. He received Oklahoma’s 2003 Lifetime Conservation Award for his work in Oklahoma and Central America.

Dr. Finkenbinder uses SCUBA diving to give students the experience of discovering life’s diversity as it exists below the surface. He is also a proponent of wild animal observations to teach students skills that are difficult to conceptualize in a sterile lab and classroom setting. Even in his general biology course, students participate with the real world in field lab settings and weekly observations of wildlife.

Courses he teaches include: natural history of the vertebrates, ornithology, microbiology, animal behavior and vertebrate natural history and anatomy. He is a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the American Institute of Biological Science.

Zana is busy writing her memoirs of directing a field station in the tropics for 10 years. He and Zana have two daughters and a son. Zonda teaches biology in Kiana, Alaska. Lana manages a self-storage company in Oklahoma City. Timothy is an immigration attorney in Kissimmee, Fla. Each of them loves nature.




A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.