The Naturalist staff at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools have extensive training and teaching experience in the Outdoor Education field. They have a passion for teaching children in the outdoors and a commitment to creating a learning atmosphere that is fun, safe, educational, and inclusive of all learning styles. All staff members are certified in both First Aid and CPR.
Daniel/Gnarwal – Program Director
Danny began his Naturalist career in 2012 with Audubon Greenwich in Connecticut. This sparked not just an interest in birding, but also the pursuit of a career in Outdoor Education. From there, Danny spent time working in Maine and Vermont before settling in Santa Cruz, California in 2016. Since moving to California, he has led field study groups through the redwoods, out to the tidepools, and under the giant granite cliffs of Yosemite. During the 2020-21 school year, Danny led ENH’s Virtual Science Camp Program as well as the Outdoor Afterschool Program at ENH’s new site in Scotts Valley. In his free time he can be found with a guitar, out surfing, or planning the next big adventure. His favorite bird is an osprey and hopes one day he can see the view from the top of an old-growth coastal redwood.
You can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Casey/Cove – Assistant Director
Cove has been teaching for over 6 years, both in and out of the classroom. They started their teaching journey by getting their multi-subject credential in New York and was a 4-5th grade teacher for a year. They have been working as a Naturalist for 5 years now, starting at an Outdoor School in Vermont and then continuing their Outdoor Education journey at San Mateo Outdoor Education for the previous 2 years. Cove loves fostering an environment for students to learn, explore, and grow and thrives to create an environment where student feel they can be their authentic selves.
Ellie/Ox – Health Care Supervisor
Ellie was born and raised in Sonoma, California. She grew up in an active family who chose backpacking trips over Disneyland and loved every minute of it! During college in Durango, CO she stumbled upon a WFR course. In Ellie’s years at Fort Lewis College she began climbing, mountain biking, and trail running in and around the surrounding areas. Spending so much time outside, she learned the importance of having a medical skill set and first responder mindset. It was then that Ellie absolutely fell in love with wilderness medicine, leading her to take a WEMT with NOLS. Since then Ellie has been working on an ambulance in Northern California. She is looking forward to returning to that “W” in the WEMT with Exploring New Horizons!
Adele/Poppy – Naturalist
Adele grew up just over the hill in Palo Alto. Through summer camp at the local Foothills park and trips to the Baylands, Adele fell in love with the outdoors and scientific discovery. Adele graduated in June 2021 from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Biology and is excited to be working as a Naturalist this season at Exploring New Horizons. Adele has extensive experience working in a wide variety of educational settings ranging from leading science-focused high school study abroad programs in Costa Rica to local musical theater summer camps. During her undergrad, she worked for the Just Slough It project to create educational videos and blogs on scientific topics for all ages. Adele is passionate about making science and the outdoors fun and accessible to everyone. In Adele’s free time, you can find her playing the ukulele, surfing, scuba diving, or hiking with friends.
Sarah was born in Sonoma County, in the small town of Rohnert Park. She grew up admiring the local redwood forests, rushing rivers, and dramatic coastlines. Sarah always loved being outdoors, and she especially loved learning about marine science and marine mammals. Her love of the ocean inspired her to attend UC Santa Cruz where she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During her adventures at UCSC, Sarah taught marine science programs for K-12 field trips for almost three years at the Seymour Center. She has also been an active volunteer with The Marine Mammal Center in Moss Landing, and is passionate about conservation and rescue. In her free time, Sarah enjoys tidepooling, scuba diving, and finding new places to explore. She can’t wait to continue learning and exploring in the outdoors with the Exploring New Horizons team!
Madeleine grew up in Santa Cruz and spent her youth enchanted by towering redwoods and foggy coastlines. From an early age, she was drawn to wild places and was inspired to make art and write stories about the natural world. Madeleine continued to make art and received a BFA with a minor in art and ecology from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2018. While in college, she took part in a month-long backpacking trip/ art class through the Klamath wilderness where she witnessed the impact of an immersive educational experience in nature. She was profoundly changed by this trip, and it launched her into a series of projects that focused on the connections between art, education and ecology. Madeleine is a big fan of collaboration, and her favorite projects involve collective storytelling and generous skill sharing. In her “off time” Madeleine can be found cooking soup for loved ones, hiking, reading, and making ceramics.
Grace was born and raised in northern California surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, creeks, manzanita, and lots of pine trees. Last summer Grace had the opportunity to be a counselor at Mountain Camp, a summer camp in the forest around Lake Tahoe. After having the experience of working and living outside and alongside inspired and goofy kids, Grace has a hard time imagining any better life! Grace graduated from Cal Poly, SLO in 2019 with a degree in Sociology and Spanish. Shortly after, she dove into working with kids as a Youth Development volunteer with the Peace Corps in Guatemala. It was here that her passion for delving into sustainable practices and sharing knowledge of the natural resources and ecosystems really took off. She is extremely excited to continue down the path of outdoor education and fostering her own and others’ sense of wonder at the world around us with ENH. Grace finds immense joy in freshwater swimming, watercoloring, reading anything put in front of her, practicing Hatha yoga and meditation, spending lots of time with her huge family, and being an absolute goof.
Christina is from Nashville, Tennessee, and didn’t actually discover the outdoors until she was in college. Going on her first hike when she was 18, she felt a sense of love and belonging that she had never felt before. A new world had opened up that she had never known existed! Since that hike, most of her time in life has been spent outside. She pursued her interest in the outdoors through guiding, working with state parks, farming, and leading trail crews. She realized that what she loves most, is helping and encouraging others to foster their potential for outdoor activities and connections. She loves supporting people who are discovering their own access to the outdoors, and develop their relationship to it as deeply as they want. Christina would like to pursue outdoor education long term, as well as her own ever-flourishing relationship with grass and trees. Outside of work, Christina enjoys mountain biking, distance running, surfing, fly fishing, and entomology.
Eric/Hammerhead Shark -Naturalist
Hammerhead has had a fascination with the natural world ever since he first sat down in front of the TV to watch Steve Irwin’s, The Crocodile Hunter. His 5th grade teacher saw that passion and was able to direct it into something concrete by talking about her many years working at an outdoor nature camp. These stories were so influential that he spent every year in high school volunteering at Walden West Science Camp. Those 400 collective volunteer hours landed him his first job as a Recreation Leader in the city of Cupertino’s science camp where he learned the many skills involved in science education. He would continue to work in each summer while getting his bachelors of science from the University of California Santa Cruz in marine biology. Today, he has continued to dedicate his life to science education so that he may influence the next generation to care and love for the world just like his 5th grade teacher, naturalists from Cupertino, and the many wonderful professors from UCSC did for him.
Jessica Horton graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2020 with a BS in Ecology and Evolution. She is passionate about CA native plants and wildlands management. She was a coordinator for the 5th grade chemistry outreach program, and spent time as a lab assistant in the Mazer Nemophila Lab which studied plant traits that will help species adapt to a radically changing climate. Jessica also travelled to Nepal as part of a program by the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development. She is passionate about World Music, and plays darbuka in the Middle Eastern Ensemble and the sitar in the North Indian Sitar Ensemble.
Hawk loves to surf, identify fungus, birds, and plants of all kinds! He is always curious and keeps an open mind towards others’ ideas and beliefs to broaden his own understanding of the world. He has a passion towards watershed remediation, environmental justice, and community engagement. Hawk hopes to empower and grow his students’ knowledge of the environment through team building, thought provoking games and activities, to become better stewards of the earth.
Hoot was raised in the Sierra Nevada’s foothills growing up in the shadows of Oak, Pine, and Cedar that he came to love. From his small town home, he came to Santa Cruz to pursue higher education at UC Santa Cruz where he studied Ecology and learned what it was to be a naturalist. In his years at school, Hoot became increasingly interested in different aspects of the natural world and developed a deep care for the conservation of native species. Hoot worked locally as a habitat restoration tech at Younger Lagoon Reserve, prior to joining us at ENH, enjoying the deep satisfaction that comes to stewarding the land and gained his first experience with outdoor education, later to continue this work as a camp counselor in Pescadero, CA. Some of his favorite activities include playing disc golf, birding, cooking with others, looking for lizards and amphibians (a.k.a. herps), and sharing the outdoors with friends and family. He looks forward to exploring the area’s plant and animal communities and helping you all to better learn from and engage with them.
Max/Snag – Naturalist
Max was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California where he developed a passion for outdoor recreation through summer camps and sports. His interest in the outdoors was cemented during his early years in college where he learned about permaculture and environmental conservation. After graduating with a degree in Natural Resources from Oregon State University he had the opportunity to work in non-profit organizations at Campus Kids Connection and the Homeless Garden Project. These experiences steered him towards work that invests in individuals and led him to Outdoor Education, which combines elements of all his previous endeavors. Max often considers how the academic and social experiences he had in his youth affect the person he is today, and this provides a lot of motivation to create an inclusive environment for kids to learn and grow.