Emily Pomeroy | Naturalist
Emily Pomeroy grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York and is a graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a BS in Wildlife Science. As a member of the Student Environmental Education Coalition she worked to develop and teach environmental science lessons at several elementary schools. Emily has been certified in Project Wet, Project Wild and Project Learning Tree as well as with the Creek Freaks program where she learned to teach watershed and stream ecology. She also holds a certification with the National Association for Interpretation. While studying wildlife biology, she has gained field experience. At the Wolf Conservation Center, Emily led educational programs and observed health checks on captive Mexican Grey Wolves. She has been trained as a tracker and trapper, has learned to use GPS and radio telemetry for tracking animals and has gained skills in identifying and banding waterfowl. This summer, Emily worked as an educator for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program where she developed educational materials and coordinated events to increase awareness of invasive species. She has traveled to Mexico where she learned traditional Mayan uses of medicinal plants. Emily has also visited several national parks including the Tetons and Glacier. She enjoys hiking, nature photography, painting and singing. Emily’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Evergreen.
Gabriel Oppler | Naturalist
Gabriel Oppler grew up in Silver Spring Maryland and is a graduate of Haverford College with a BS in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies and Spanish. He was a biology peer tutor and also participated in the Mentoring and Student Teaching Program where he designed and taught weekly science projects in chemistry, biology and physics to middle school students. Gabriel attended the School for International Training in Ecuador where he studied comparative ecology and conservation. While living with a host family in Quito he conducted research and fieldwork in the cloud forest, Andean highlands, Amazon rain forest and the Galapagos Islands. For three summers, he has worked with 9-14 year olds as head counselor and trip leader at Shiloh Quaker Camp. Not only has Gabriel led campers in arts and crafts, sports and canoeing but he also led a 10-day hiking trip that culminated in a 26-mile trek on the last day. This summer he worked as a Botany Field Technician in Wisconsin, collecting data on plant diversity, phenology and biomass. Gabriel is a self-proclaimed sports fanatic and played NCAA soccer in college. While traveling in South Africa he taught kids basic soccer skills. He has also traveled to Trinidad, Tobago, Israel and Costa Rica. He enjoys hiking and has hiked large parts of the Appalachian Trail. Gabriel also likes canoeing, rock climbing and cooking. He is also fluent in Spanish. Gabriel’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Grebe.
Kat Palermo | Naturalist
Kat Palermo grew up in Los Angeles, CA. and is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies and a minor in Geospatial Information Science (GIS) and Technology. She has completed course work in plant biology and tree taxonomy as well as field classes in ornithology and California ecosystems. Kat can identify over 150 species of woody plants and is an avid bird watcher. She has worked as a GIS analyst for the National Park Service, UC Berkeley Labs, and most recently, the National Audubon Society. As a field assistant, Kat monitored sudden oak death for East Bay Regional Parks. She has worked as an educator at the LA County Museum of Art where she developed outreach programs for high school students and as a Summer Arts Camp Assistant where she presented art projects to 2-12 year olds. Kat has traveled throughout Europe, including, Italy, Sicily, Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. She enjoys yoga, trail running, kayaking, swimming, camping and cooking for friends. Kat has been singing as long as she can remember and has played the guitar since she was 10 years old. She has performed as a jazz singer and has played in several bands. Kat’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Puma.
Jordan Unger | Naturalist
Jordan Unger grew up in Boise Idaho and is a graduate of Boise State University with a Degree in History and a Minor in French. He worked on campus as an undergraduate Research Assistant. He also studied abroad in South France. Last spring, Jordan traveled to Morocco as part of a cultural exchange program where he taught English while living with a host family. He has worked as a tutor in special education, at a local elementary school and for three summers in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado at an outdoor education summer camp where he led backpacking, hiking, and mountain biking. At summer camp, Jordan experienced the joy in helping kids gain a new perspective and positive attitude toward nature and being outdoors. Growing up in Boise, he was exposed to the beauty of the outdoors at an early age and has been camping, hiking and backpacking for most of his life. Jordan enjoys cycling, basketball, soccer, backpacking, hiking, camping, eating and cooking with friends, reading and traveling. Last spring, Jordan took an epic bicycle ride from Boise to San Diego. During the trip he worked as a WWOOFer at various farms in California and gained a greater understanding of the plants and ecology of the areas he visited. He has also lived in Los Angeles, Columbus Ohio and New Orleans. Jordan’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Jungle-Katt.
Abby Van Artsdalen | Naturalist
Abby Van Artsdalen grew up in Pismo Beach CA. and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a BS in Environmental Management and Protection and a minor in Environmental Education and Interpretation. She has taken course work in botany, dendrology and geology and is certificated in Project Wet, Project Learning Tree and Foundations of Interpretation. Abby has worked in an after-school program as an environmental educator where she designed and taught 10 NGSS aligned, student-centered lessons. She has also worked as a state park interpreter and state park aide where she led interpretive hikes and presented campfire programs for the general public, presented junior ranger programs to 7-12 year olds and assisted in trail renovations. Abby has a background in musical theater and worked as an assistant director at a youth theater where she trained and managed thirty 5-12 year olds in acting and dancing for 10 different theatrical performances. Growing up, Abby’s family outings included spending time outdoors, camping, hiking, kayaking and biking. She enjoys surfing, taking long bike rides, reading and working in the garden. She also loves to climb trees. Abby’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Samara.
Vaiola Navarro | Naturalist
Vaiola Navarro grew up in South San Francisco and is a graduate of Skyline Community College with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Interdisciplinary Studies in Letters and Science, Social and Behavioral Science and Social and Natural Science. She has extensive experience working with children in a variety of settings. Volunteering as a Cabin Leader for 15 weeks over 4 years assisting Outdoor Education Naturalists inspired her to become a Naturalist Intern. Vaiola has worked as a reading tutor at Los Cerritos Elementary School and for three years an early childhood educator at Bright Horizons. While working at the Optimist Volunteer For Youth summer camp in San Gregorio, she served as a summer camp counselor, head counselor and the leadership team, Program Support, where she was in charge of developing curriculum and overseeing program operations. Vaiola has worked at Camp Unity, a summer day camp, where she helped facilitate and teach Polynesian culture and dance. She has traveled to Western and American Samoa and Hawaii with the goal of visiting all Pacific Islands. Her passion is working with kids and learning about different cultures. She likes to play and write music and sings in a three-person band. She plays ukulele, guitar and piano and is currently learning to play the bass. Vaiola’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Spring.
Keith Runyan | Naturalist
Keith Runyan was born near Lake Tahoe, grew up in Marysville, California and is a graduate of Earlham College with a BA in Neuroscience. He also studied peace, social justice and environmental sustainability at Woolman Semester School. He has participated in several work service projects at Quaker camps including trail, property and homeless center construction and maintenance. He has been a researcher and teaching assistant in various topics of Neuroscience and cell physiology, including the investigation of spinal cord regeneration in lampreys. As a child care worker, he taught a boy with Down syndrome how to play the guitar. While working as a community integration associate, he helped a student with disabilities to assimilate into the community and gain social/academic skills. He has worked for several years as a camp counselor with 6-14 year olds where he led camp songs, nature hikes, backpacking trips, service trips, and worked as a waterfront lifeguard. Growing up he spent a lot of time swimming in lakes, skiing and hiking. At the age of 13 he attended a school for the arts where he learned to play the guitar, sing, draw and practice martial arts. He has sung in an a cappella group and plays the cello. He has walked the El Camino de Santiago and has sat on the US/Mexico border wall in Agua Prieta. He enjoys music, soccer, running, art and chess. He has climbed Mt. Shasta, floated down the Sacramento River in a homemade barrel raft and experimented with a homemade transcranial direct current stimulator. Keith’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Tahoe.
Mary Kristina Waite | Naturalist
Mary Kristina Waite grew up in Carmel Valley, California and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a BS in Environmental Management and Protection/Environmental Education and Interpretation. She has received training and certificates in Project WET, Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Foundations of Interpretation and the NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence. She served as Vice President of The Redwood Chapter of Environmental Educators and Interpretation. Mary Kristina has worked as a crew leader with the Boy Scouts and as a California state park interpreter where she led junior ranger programs, nature walks and campfires. As a trip leader for Friends of the Dunes, she taught 2nd-6th grade students about dune, beach and wetland ecology including, bird watching, plant identification and tracking. She worked with 15-18 year olds at Yellowstone National Park taking them on day hikes, swimming, backpacking and river rafting. Mary Kristina has also worked as a naturalist with Mendocino Outdoor Science School where she taught 4th-8th grade students in a variety of ecosystems including the redwood forest and rocky shore. She has also worked as a kayak guide leading groups on trips through Channel Islands National Park. She has traveled through Costa Rica. Mary Kristina enjoys trail running, kayaking, surfing, wind surfing, rock climbing, reading historical fiction, and cooking. She is currently learning to play the guitar and ukulele. Mary Kristina’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Summit.
Lauren Black| Naturalist
Lauren Black grew up in Norman Oklahoma, land of the best sunsets and thunderstorms, and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma with a BA in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources. Some of her course work included botany, geology and ecology. She attended trainings in Leave No Trace Awareness and Foundations of Interpretation. Lauren has also worked as a research assistant in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. She has taken a course in ecosystem field studies in Boulder Colorado and has studied abroad in Tanzania and at the University of College Cork in Ireland. Lauren has worked as an early childhood educator both as a nanny and at a day-care center. Last year, she worked as a Naturalist Intern with Sierra Outdoor School where she taught 6th grade students lessons in fresh water ecology, astronomy and geology. Lauren also developed a pond identification guide, handled and presented raptors to students and operated a high ropes course. She enjoys Yoga, hiking, backpacking, reading and eating. Lauren has played the cello for nine years and is learning guitar. She loves to tell inspiring stories about her mom, hiking with her dad and swimming with dolphins in the Indian Ocean. Lauren’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Blackberry.
Noelle Leong | Naturalist
Noelle Leong grew up in Castro Valley, California and is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Environmental Science and English Literature. She studied at UC Natural Reserve System sites for a field quarter to study wildland management and another quarter for ichthyology. She also took courses in applied marine ecology and outdoor education. Noelle has worked at the campus marine lab as a research assistant identifying different types and stages of coral development. As a natural history collections intern, Noelle restored the herpetology collection and databased various specimen information. She was introduced to outdoor education by serving as a cabin leader at Exploring New Horizons. As an educator, she has worked with a variety of ages and in different settings through the (REEF) Research Education Experience Facility, as an interpreter for marine touch tanks. She led various groups through hands-on learning of coastal ecology, took students to the tidepools, taught inquiry-based lessons including dissection of organisms and created NGSS lessons for K-12 students. For seven years, she has been freelancing as a lifestyle/portrait photographer. Noelle enjoys exploring tidepools, painting, reading, snorkeling, biking, and learning new things. She is open-water SCUBA certified, and plays the ukulele. Noelle’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Cypress.
Carson Welte | Naturalist
Carson Welte grew up in Castro Valley, California and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a BS in Environmental Management and Protection/Environmental Education and Interpretation. As a Natural Resource Club member he aided in the restoration of salmon habitat, planted native species, removed invasive species and disposed of trash. He also worked with the club to develop an interpretive sign for a solar powered cell phone charger. Carson has developed and taught curriculum including: seed dispersal, water use, resource management and biodiversity. As a farm to school docent, he taught 8-10 year olds on sustainable farming practices, composting, bugs and biodiversity. While working as an Environmental Educator for the city of Arcata, Carson led groups of elementary students to the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife sanctuary where he taught wetland ecology and waste water treatment. He has worked for the BLM as a wilderness and park ranger the King Range Wilderness Area educating visitors on back-country guidelines for protecting biodiversity and in the Headwaters Forest Reserve facilitating school field-trips. As an after school STEM Educator, Carson worked with Humboldt County Office of Education to develop and teach 10 NGSS science lessons for 3rd -8th grade students. He was inspired to be a naturalist when as a 6th grader he attended outdoor school at Camp Loma Mar. He enjoys swimming in rivers, exploring creeks, biking, listening to music and skateboarding. Carson’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Coastal.
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