Mark Nolan | Director
Mark is a graduate of UC Davis with a B.S. in Zoology and a Secondary Science Teaching Credential and an Administrative Credential from San Jose State. He taught as a Naturalist for 12 years, founded and directed the Pigeon Point Environmental Education Program, and served as the Executive Director for Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools. He has served as chair for the California Outdoor School Association (COSA). He is a member of the Banana Slug String Band and for 33 years he has performed with the band throughout the United States. He has developed the outdoor education website, overseen construction of the straw bale classroom, maintained the marine aquarium and built enjoyable working relationships with the staff. He is returning to SMOE for an 22nd year. He has two children: Hannah who is 27 and Shea who is 22 who have both attended Outdoor Ed. as 6th grade students and high school cabin leaders. He enjoys music and plays guitar, mandolin, dulcimer and bass. He also likes gardening, cooking and reading books on natural history. Mark's nature name at outdoor education is "Marine Mark".
Steve Van Zandt | Program Manager/Principal
Steve is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara in Environmental Studies/Geography. He received a multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State and an Administrative Credential from San Jose State. He worked as a Naturalist at SMOE, Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools, Youth Science Institute and as a Co-Director/Intern Coordinator at Hidden Villa. He also was a Co-Manager for the Pigeon Point Youth Hostel. He was a kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade classroom teacher and a K-7th grade Life Lab/ESL teacher. He is a founding and active member of the Banana Slug String Band. He is returning to SMOE for a 26th year. He has three sons: Nathan 31, Colin 28, and Skyler 28. He enjoys music, writing, poetry, Ping-Pong, vegetarian/vegan cooking, surfing and swimming under waterfalls. Steve's nature name at outdoor education is "Solar Steve."
Cindy Matsuyama | Outdoor Education Administrative Assistant
Cindy Matsuyama is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Sociology and Japanese. She also holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and has extensive administrative and financial experience. Cindy grew up going camping and fishing with her family and eating the fruits and vegetables grown in the garden at home. Cindy’s nature name at outdoor education is Cinder.
Clare Rankhorn | Senior Naturalist
Clare grew up in Lake Villa, Illinois and is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Integrative Biology. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, she conducted and presented original research on topics such as animal mating behavior, predator-prey interactions, and climate change. One of her research articles about behavioral isolation in fishes is published in The American Naturalist. She has also worked as a lab assistant, a middle school leadership tutor, a park district naturalist, and a graduate assistant at an environmental education center. Over the years, she has gained experience leading environmental education field trips, camps, and other programs for ages K-12. While spending a summer as a wildlife rehabilitator, she had the chance to care for and handle all types of vertebrates, including snakes and raptors. She enjoys long hikes, road trips, identifying plants, baking sweet treats, and Chicago style deep-dish pizza. She loves all styles of music and is a dancer and choreographer in jazz, hip-hop, and Chicago style stepping. She is an avid birder and one of her favorite birds on her life list is the hooded warbler. She has traveled to over 25 states and hopes to visit them all. She is also teaching herself to play guitar. She is returning to San Mateo Outdoor Education for her fifth year. Clare's nature name at Outdoor Education is Frost.
Jillian Buono | Naturalist/Village Leader
Jillian Buono grew up in the Hudson Valley in Warwick NY and is a graduate of the State University of New York College of Environmental Studies and Forestry with a BS in Environmental Studies and a minor in Marine Sciences. While taking field course in Big Sur CA she conducted a species census, surveyed intertidal communities and participated in a stream survey. Jillian holds a certificate for interpretation with the US National Parks, she has taken courses in Project Learning Tree, Project Wet and Project Wild. She is SCUBA certified and loves to dive. She has worked in 2nd -5th grade class rooms through the “Nature in the City” program. She also worked with 8th grade students as a science counselor, and with K-2nd grade students as a STEM elementary enrichment mentor. While working as a Science Educator at a museum of science and technology, Jillian led groups of 30-50 students. As a summer residential Outdoor Educator, she led 11-18 year olds on backpacking and canoe trips and as a wilderness leader for Camp Tawonga she led backpacking trips for campers around Yosemite National Park. After teaching a year as a naturalist at SMOE, she worked as a Naturalist at Green Meadows Outdoor School in the Sierra She loves to travel and has been to countries in Europe, South America and Thailand as well as Antarctica where she studied the effects of climate change. . Jillian is returning to SMOE for a 2nd year. Jillian’s nature name at outdoor education is Fern.
Neil Richardson | Garden Coordinator/Naturalist
Neil grew up in Santa Clara, California and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection/Environmental Education and Interpretation. He received training in project WET and Project Learning Tree and served as a Project Learning Tree coordinator at local schools. As an Environmental Education Program Designer he created curriculum for 5th grade students and taught in a variety of habitats. As a Program Coordinator with Wetlands on Wheels he worked in the field and classroom to provide hands- on activities about wetland ecosystems for 5th grade students. With Friends of The Dunes he led field trips to teach 2nd-6th graders about dune ecology, birds, plants and macro invertebrates. He enjoys running, cycling and working out. He has a talent for building and fixing things from cars to computers and is fascinated in classic cars and automotive history. He loves riding motorcycles and in the last two years has ridden over 20,000 miles covering the entire length of the west coast along highway 1 and 101. He likes writing music and has played the bass in two bands. He is returning to San Mateo Outdoor Education for his sixth year. Neil's nature name at outdoor education is Eel.
Danny Hulburt | Naturalist/Village Leader
Danny Hulburt was born in the Netherlands, grew up in Blacksburg Virginia and is a graduate of Guilford College with a BS in Biology and a minor in Integrated Sciences. He also studied psychology and neuroscience while attending Maastricht University in the Netherlands. At the age of 19, Danny learned to speak German while working in Switzerland as an au pair. He is also learning Dutch. Danny has participated in a Master Naturalist program and Quaker Leadership Scholars Program. As a Teen Adventure trip leader he worked with 15-17 year old campers, taking them on three week long backpacking, canoeing, rock-climbing and service trips. As a counselor at Shiloh Quaker Camp Danny took 9-14 year olds on 3-4 day backpacking trips. Danny enjoys mountain biking, backpacking and rock climbing. He likes downhill skiing, plays a lot of disc golf and was on his college ultimate Frisbee team. Danny plays the piano, guitar, and was on his high school drumline. He loves talking about music and was a radio DJ in college. He is returning to SMOE for his third year. Danny’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Shine.
Miles Villa | Health Care Specialist
Miles Villa grew up in Lemoore California and is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He received his EMT certification from Sacramento State, and his Wilderness First Responder certification from NOLS. He has studied plant ecology, invertebrate zoology, and ichthyology and has conducted original research projects in a variety of California ecosystems. He is a skilled field biologist and has worked in ecological restoration. As an accomplished birder he helped to conduct bird counts in Tejon Ranch and worked with the US Forest Service making point counts of spotted owls and goshawks. He has also worked as a lab assistant where he studied ant diversity and organized thousands of insect samples taken from coffee farms in Mexico. He spent a summer in Singapore and Malaysia studying freshwater plankton. He likes camping, travel and backpacking and spent a month hiking in Costa Rica. He also enjoys reading, writing, dancing and playing the piano and guitar. After working a year at SMOE followed by two years at San Joaquin Outdoor Education, He is returning to SMOE for a third year. Miles’s nature name at outdoor education is Flux.
Kiana Jenkins | Naturalist/Village Leader
Kiana Jenkins grew up in Ojai, CA and is a graduate of Humboldt State University (HSU) with a BS in Environmental Management and Protection and an emphasis in Environmental Education and Interpretation. She holds a Permaculture Design Certificate from Santa Barbara City College and has completed trainings in Project Learning Tree, Project Wet, Talk About Trees and Foundations in Interpretation. While attending HSU she served as President of the Redwood Chapter of Environmental Educators and Interpreters where she organized community Environmental Education programs and events. Kiana has studied abroad in South Africa and London and has traveled throughout Ireland and most of the western US and parts of Mexico. She also spent a summer working with youth and Natives in Alaska. Kiana is proficient in American Sign Language, learning Spanish and she is currently learning to play the guitar and keyboard. Kiana enjoys backpacking, cooking, reading, stretching, and traveling. She enjoys learning about weather, climate, and natural disasters and loves all water sports including whitewater rafting/kayaking and surfing. This past summer she spent time traveling through Costa Rica surfing, worked closely in the community at Farmer's Markets, and helped with a program working with teens from Oakland. She is returning to SMOE for her third year. Kiana’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Cascade.
Emily Lansdale | Naturalist
Emily Lansdale grew up on a 7-acre organic farm near La Selva Beach, CA and is a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in International Studies and a teaching credential in Elementary Education. She also holds a Masters in Bilingual Teaching from the Universidad Católica in Murcia, Spain. Emily has extensive teaching experience with many age groups, from 1st graders to college students. As a lecturer at the University of Murcia, she developed lessons in conversational English and as a Language and Cultural Assistant at a bilingual primary school, she taught Science and English. As a 3rd grade aide she worked with students with special needs and as a 2nd-5th grade student-teacher she wrote and taught units on the Hudson River, Mexico and the human body. Emily also spent a summer teaching adult literacy classes for agricultural workers in Watsonville. She has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and Europe. While living on a rose plantation in Ecuador, she taught daily lessons to the workers' children. In Peru, she climbed Machu Pichu. She has spent many summers visiting family in Greece, especially while living in Spain for the past 3 years. She enjoys singing, dancing, running mountain marathons, biking, ultimate frisbee, baking and laughing. She has climbed mount Olympus and talked to Zeus three times. Emily’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Colibrí.
Shawna Knapp | Naturalist
Shawna Knapp is a Bay Area native who grew up in Pacifica. She received her AA degree from CSU Monterey Bay and graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Education. Shawna attended SMOE as a 5th grade student, a high school cabin leader and now as a naturalist. She worked as a farm and garden specialist with at risk students, where she built a garden, taught gardening and care for animals as well as designed and implemented an environmental studies curriculum. She has taught basic climbing and ropes course activities. While working at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Shawna supervised and led games and activities for up to 500 students who were on over night programs at the aquarium. As a camp counselor in the Eldorado National Forest, she introduced outdoor activities to kids who had never been outside the city. She also worked in a 1st grade classroom assisting students with reading and writing. Shawna enjoys hiking, fishing and gardening. She has backpacked in Big Basin, Emigrant Wilderness and the Appalachian Trail. She taught herself to play guitar at the age of 13. Shawna’s nature name at outdoor education is Alpine.
Maitland Ianiri | Naturalist
Maitland Ianiri grew up in Easton, Connecticut and is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a BS in wildlife and conservation biology. He also studied abroad in New Zealand where he spent extensive time in the field learning methods of conservation ecology while exploring Zealand’s unique ecosystems and culture. Working as a research assistant, Maitland conducted field-work and published his findings on how silviculture techniques effect wildlife habitats in the Bartlett Experimental Forest. He led college students into the wilderness teaching outdoor skills and developing their environmental awareness. Maitland lived and worked in the Sierra backcountry building trails and causeways. He also worked with a conservation organization in Maine giving talks, leading hikes and making inventories of the plants and animals. Maitland has also worked on farms and is versed in sustainable gardening and permaculture techniques. He has traveled throughout the Caribbean, Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and has visited 17 national parks. He enjoys backpacking, cooking, baking, dancing, playing guitar, yoga and meditation. Maitland’s nature name at outdoor education is Aspen.
Casey Cairo | Naturalist
Casey Cairo grew up in the Bay Area and is a graduate of Skidmore College with a BS in Education Studies and a BA in Psychology, including a Washington State teaching certificate in Childhood Education. She worked as a student teacher in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms in upstate New York. Throughout college she was a teaching assistant for pre-k students at an early childhood center. Casey studied abroad in Iceland and throughout high school and college she has worked with people with special needs and mental health issues. She was a classroom aide in a special education classroom and worked at Ramapo for Children last year, where she mentored, lived, and worked with young adults with mental health issues and/or special needs. While at Ramapo she also facilitated high and low ropes courses for students and adults of all ages. She has been working at Aim High the past three summers as a lead teacher and team lead, where she facilitates hikes, teaches ecology, and leads an overnight camping trip for 8th and 9th grade students. While Casey worked as KEEC, an outdoor school in Vermont, she taught environmental science to 4th – 6th grade students while leading hikes, canoeing trips, and rock climbing adventures. Casey loves to travel and has been to 4 continents and 17 countries as well as 49 states. In 5 years she has taken 5 cross-country road trips. She has also backpacked in both Thailand and Peru including a hike through Machu Picchu on the Inca trail. Casey enjoys ceramics, drawing, photography, hiking, camping, kayaking, eating spicy foods and running on the beach with her dog Charlie. She has also been skydiving and bungee jumping. Its been said that she can tell you everything you want to know about woman’s soccer. Casey’s nature name at outdoor education is Cove.
Ziggy Bates | Naturalist
Ziggy Bates was born in Ohio and spent his formative years growing up in Virginia. He is a graduate of Northern Virginia Community College with an Associate Degree in Fine Arts and holds a level 1 certification from the College of Botanical Healing Arts. He recently completed a naturalist training program in Coyote Mentoring. Ziggy worked as a resident cabin leader at Exploring New Horizons where he co-led trail activities with naturalists and assisted the medic in creating a menu for diabetic students. As a naturalist with Hidden Villa he taught trail lessons, gave school presentations and taught in the farm and garden. He also presented a staff in-service about owls. Through Ziggy’s theater training, he has a natural inclination as an entertainer. He has worked as a street performer where he taught music and gave free concerts. Through his travels he has seen how music can open doors and make positive connections with people. Ziggy plays the guitar, drums, mandolin and melodica. He enjoys musical improvisation, busking, making art, poi and board games. He also has an interest in ancient and medieval history. Ziggy’s nature name at outdoor education is Jackalope.
Sarah Dunn | Naturalist
Sarah Dunn grew up in Seattle and is a graduate of Whitman College with a BA in Environmental Studies - Geology. She recently completed a six-week intensive geology field course where she learned geologic field mapping skills. Sarah has also conducted fieldwork in the Mojave Desert where she used digital modeling to study how hill-slopes in arid regions are shaped by climate. Working as a geoscientist in Capitol Reef National Park, she gave naturalist talks, led hikes and presented evening programs. As a Youth Education Intern, she taught K-6 grade students geology and ornithology, and led 6th- 10th grade students on camping and backpacking trips. Sarah has also worked as a resident camp counselor at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island where she had the opportunity to be a personal counselor for a child with autism. She has worked as a tutor and mentor for 2nd grade to high school students and as a “Cool the Schools Coordinator” where she facilitated a program that brought college students to 7th grade classrooms to teach about climate change. Sarah is conversant in Spanish and lived for a month in Peru. She enjoys backpacking, trail running, water coloring and playing Ultimate Frisbee. She can often be found baking bread, looking at rocks, dancing or reading novels. Sarah’s nature name at outdoor education is Ravine.
Natasha Elizabeth Anderson | Naturalist
Natasha Elizabeth Anderson grew up in Frazier Park, California and earned an Associates of Arts degree in Liberal Arts, Social and Behavioral Science from Santa Monica College. Natasha is also a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelors of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. Natasha studied abroad in Chile where she compared the political and economic development before and after the Pinochet regime. As an Apprentice Researcher for UC Berkeley’s Undergraduate Research program, she worked in a biology lab dedicated to studying evolution, ecology, and global change. She analyzed mammalian species' evolutionary response to climate change using R (data analysis program). As a Naturalist Aide with East Bay Regional Park District, Natasha provided site-specific natural history interpretation to students, families, and the general public. She also co-led hikes, service projects, and backpacking trips for 10-13 year olds. Natasha has traveled to Peru, England, Spain, Italy, China, and South Korea. She enjoys dancing, camping, hiking, and yoga. She continues to improve her ability to speak Spanish and she loves a variety of musical genres, particularly those she can dance to. Natasha’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Ozone.
Evan Duffy-Ledbetter | Naturalist
Evan Duffy-Ledbetter grew up in University Park, Maryland and is a graduate of James Madison University with a BA in Integrated Advertising and creative writing. He also completed a 20-hour interpretive training program at Sequoia National Park as well as Eppley Institute training in interpretation. As a Museum Educator at Lawrence Hall of Science, Evan worked with k-8 grade students teaching mechanics, electricity and physics. He also coordinated outreach programs with Bay Area schools and operated and presented planetarium programs. Evan has worked with K-12 students as a substitute teacher and as a Teaching Assistant for a college course, Introductory to Playwriting. As a naturalist at Sequoia National Park, he presented a living history program and informed visitors about poisonous snake populations, rock fall zones, and the natural and human history of the area. Evan also developed and presented an interpretive program designed to orient visitors to their Crystal Cave Tour. He has traveled to 40 states and internationally through Egypt, Australia, Canada and Mexico. Evan enjoys reading, writing, hiking and telling stories around a campfire. He has mastered the art of playing air piano. Evan’s nature name at outdoor education is Duff.
Emily “Milly” Roberts | Naturalist
Emily “Milly” Roberts grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of Emerson College in Boston with a BS in Marketing Communication and Environmental Studies. She took a semester off to teach English and run after school programming at a YMCA school in the Dominican Republic. After graduating, Milly joined a start-up building indoor aquaponic systems where she worked with teachers to write grants and build curriculum to help bring these indoor gardens into classrooms. She has worked as a seasonal director at a summer camp where she started a CIT program to develop teen leaders. More recently, as a Community Programs intern at Hidden Villa, Milly worked with K-12 students in an after school program teaching ecology, farm and garden curriculum and nature awareness. She enjoys backpacking, trail running, rock climbing, lake swimming and harvesting her own food. Milly also likes bike-packing and once took a solo ride down the West coast from Vancouver to San Diego. She loves to sing, dance and she plays the ukulele, flute and piano. Milly’s nature name at outdoor education is Millipede.
Miguel Salazar | Naturalist
Miguel Salazar grew up in Pacifica CA and is a graduate of Palo Alto University with a BS in Psychology and Social Action. He last worked as a service shop manager, repairing marine electronics on private yachts and commercial vessels. Miguel also has experience working on solar/wind power systems and de-salinization plants for drinking water. He served in the Navy from 2000-2005 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and was deployed to the Persian Gulf. After volunteering to work with veterans in the Portland area, he was inspired to change his career. Miguel volunteered for the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, as a tutor at the College of San Mateo, and as a naturalist at Hidden Villa. He started his traveling adventures with friends in South East Asia. Miguel has been to Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. He likes long distant cycling and has ridden from Portland to Duluth. Miguel also enjoys photography, sailing, reading, backpacking and music. As a Vallemar student he attended outdoor ed in elementary school. Miguel’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Synergy.
Michaela Squier | Naturalist
Michaela Squier grew up in Eastern Washington and is a graduate of Oberlin College with a BA in Comparative American Studies and Geology. She participated in a semester long program called SEA Semester where she conducted oceanographic research on a tall ship in the Caribbean. Michaela has also worked for two summers as a barn counselor at Bar 717 Ranch in Northern California and for one summer at a bilingual summer camp in Chile called Las Mulas. She is passionate about the power of children’s books and taught a class on writing and illustrating children’s books in which the participants self-published their own children’s books. Along with that, Michaela served as a trip leader for the Oberlin Outings Club where she ran Wilderness First Aid trainings and led backpacking trips. She is passionate about increasing accessibility to the outdoors and taught a class called Outdoor Adventure Skills for Beginners. She also worked at the Oberlin College rock wall and taught rock climbing to college students and children ages 8-12. Besides that, Michaela served as an environmental educator in a kindergarten class teaching hands-on science and working with them in an educational garden. Michaela likes to run, rock climb, make art, play soccer and hang out with any and all animals. She also likes to make bagels and podcasts. Michaela’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Squirrel.
Director, Outdoor Environmental Education
Phone: (650) 747-9581
Steve Van Zandt
Manager, Outdoor Education
Phone: (650) 747-0414
Administrative Assistant, Outdoor Education Information and Registration
Phone: (650) 803-5360