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: email@example.com
Mica/Rhubarb – Assistant Director
Mica has been involved in outdoor education since 2015 when she began volunteering as a high school leader with Multnomah County outdoor school in Oregon. There, she taught water science to 6th graders on the banks of the Sandy River. Since then she has spent many summers working as a summer camp counselor on an island off the coast of British Columbia. During college she sailed with Sea Education Association aboard a 134ft tall ship in the Caribbean conducting oceanographic and natural history research. Mica worked as a naturalist at San Mateo Outdoor Education during the 2021-2022 school year. In her free time Mica loves to play ultimate frisbee, ride her bike, and play music with friends.
Millie/Indigo – Health Care Supervisor
Millie grew up in San Mateo, CA surrounded by salt marshes on one side and a windswept coastline on the other. As a kid, her parents brought her to Sequoia during the summertimes. There, she grew connected to the big trees and the feeling of being so small in a forest so big. While she studied Psychology at Tulane University, she spent the summers working in Sequoia National Forest teaching sailing and canoeing to kids. From there, she became a white water rafting guide in the southern Sierras. Teaching kids about whitewater, and exploring the freedom of the river, allowed Millie to feel the importance of outdoor education as well as conservation. For the last few years, Millie has loved working in an experiential learning environment at Santa Cruz Montessori School. With a WFR and WEMT under her belt, she is looking forward to keeping ENH a safe and healthy place for all. In her free time you may find her surfing, checking the surf, or maybe even paddling down a river.
Katy/Dragonfly – Evening Medic
Katharine grew up in Santa Cruz playing in the ocean and the redwood forest. She graduated from Carleton College with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science then went on to work as an EMT in Santa Cruz. In her free time she can be found playing beach volleyball, surfing, and hiking to river swim spots. She is excited to join the health team this Fall at Sempervirens!
Drew/Spore – Naturalist
Drew moved to California this past Fall and from a small town in Connecticut. They spent the past year working in residential Outdoor Education with San Mateo County. They spent this most recent summer working in the Marin Headlands as an Environmental Science Educator for NatureBridge. Prior to that, graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BFA in Acting and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. They are currently working on a Master’s in Early Childhood and Special Ed at the University of St. Joseph. Some of Drew’s favorite pastimes involve spending time outdoors in the redwood forest, searching for birds and discovering species of mushrooms on the forest floor. They are also constantly on the hunt for the best vegan burrito in California! Their nature name is Spore.
Lily grew up in the East Bay in a family of nature lovers. Going camping every year with her family is what slowly developed her excitement in the outdoors. Her love for nature quickly made her realize how important it is for us to help protect it, inspiring her to major in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She has always had a passion for teaching, having experience docenting at Natural Bridges, teaching at Camp Galileo, Kids in Nature, and martial arts classes. She merged her passions for the outdoors and teaching by homing in on a career in outdoor education. Spending time with people outdoors and getting others connected to nature is what she loves most. When Lily was in 5th grade, one of her most defining moments was singing at the top of her lungs about banana slugs and scat while being a camper herself at Exploring New Horizons. She’s so excited to be bringing it full circle this year, but this time as a Naturalist here at Sempervirens.
Lauren grew up in Arizona with a very outdoorsy family. If she wasn’t at school, she was camping in the mountains of Arizona or tidepooling in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico. Her scientific curiosity peaked when she started SCUBA diving at age 12. Now, a decade of diving later, Lauren has a B.S. in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz! Since moving to California 4 years ago, Lauren has participated in studies investigating the predator-prey dynamics of urchins in kelp forests, the conservation of manta rays in fisheries, and the ecology of salmonid populations in the aftermath of forest fires. After being a coach for Trout in the Classroom, her passion for teaching continued to grow and eventually brought her to outdoor education. At ENH she aims to inspire campers to ask questions about their world and help them feel a sense of belonging in nature. If she’s not on the ENH campus, you can find Lauren blowing bubbles underwater, going for runs on Westcliff, or eating a sandwich on a summit.
Tania grew up in Mexico and moved to San Diego, CA in 7th grade. She recently graduated UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Growing up, she was always curious about the natural world around her and loved spending time in nature. She developed a passion for plant ecology and the outdoors during college while working for the Forest Ecology Research Plot on campus. She developed plant identification skills as well as how to navigate the forest with a compass and a map! She found her interest in teaching while interning for Life Lab as a garden instructor. In her free time, Tania enjoys hiking, painting and playing with her dog Addie. All of her experiences lead her to want to teach students outside and share her passion for nature and science while having fun!
Josh grew up just a half hour south of San Francisco, yet spent his summers as a kid at sleepaway camp in the foothills of the Sierras and taking backpacking trips into Yosemite, in awe of the towering granite and pine trees. His passion for the natural world was sparked in these formative years and led him to move to Colorado to study Environmental Studies at CU Boulder. Through these years, he spent his time focusing on ecology, environmental justice, and environmental education, as he spent his free time hiking, skiing, and climbing in the Rocky Mountains. Despite his transition to the Rockies, Josh continued to return to the Sierras summer after summer to be a counselor, and then wilderness leader at the very camp that he grew up going to, in order to spark that same passion in the next generation for the natural world that was sparked in him many years before. Josh most recently spent his summer leading trips for Outward Bound California, back in the High Sierras. As Josh transitions back to the west coast, he brings these experiences and learnings with him to ENH and is excited to continue down the path of outdoor education; helping foster students’ connection to each other, the natural world, and themselves! In his free time, you can find Josh rock climbing, hiking, skiing, camping, reading in a hammock, or cooking with friends! Josh is also an aspiring gardener and piano player.
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 grew up in sunny San Diego where he explored maritime chaparral, coastal ecosystems,
and pine-filled canyonlands. His passion for environmental stewardship skyrocketed as he
began conducting weekly creek clean ups as an assignment at his community college. During
this time, he witnessed the complexity and sacredness of the biodiversity within his local
watershed. This eventually led him to transfer to California State University Monterey Bay where
he received a BS in Environmental Science. Throughout his college career Hawk interned and
volunteered with multiple organizations helping him obtain knowledge and skills pertaining to
water quality management, invasive species management, and community engagement. Since
then, Hawk has gained experience surveying Oak woodland and endangered habitats
throughout the Willamette Valley in Oregon and began working as a naturalist for Exploring New
Horizons in January of 2022. Laying a foundation of respect, emotional intelligence, and
environmental stewardship are at the forefront of his teaching criteria as he hopes to instill a
passion for spending time out in nature. Outside of camp one could find Hawk surfing,
identifying mushrooms/birds throughout freshwater habitats, jamming out at concerts, and
playing card/board games with his friends and family!
Jasmine grew up in Santa Cruz surrounded by the beauty of the ocean and redwood forests. In 6th grade, she attended Exploring New Horizons as a camper, and she is thrilled to return as a naturalist! She recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Environmental Science. During this time, she worked on a variety of projects, including interning at a soil science lab, researching sea level rise in the San Francisco Bay Area, and leading a dance team. She is passionate about environmental justice, scientific communication, and developing her skills in cartography. In her free time, Jasmine loves dancing, reading, and spending time with her family and cats.
Carlee loves exploring in nature with their family and friends, and bonding with people through the simple joys of a sunrise or a rainstorm or the smells of the forest. Learning new things about nature and the relationships among and between plants and animals always amazes Carlee. Hiking, camping, and backpacking are some of their favorite things to do outdoors. In their free time Carlee loves cooking, painting, and listening to music.