Bo Glover Executive Director
Trail building, habitat restoration and leading educational tours as a volunteer marked the early days of Bo’s career at the ENC after moving to California in 1991. Bo is currently the Executive Director of the ENC and has held that position since 1995. When he is not hiking or camping with his family, Bo affiliates himself with a number of worthwhile community organizations. Bo is Past-President of the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) and California Society for Ecological Restoration (SERCAL). He was also the Chairman of the City of Newport Beach Castaways Park Advisory Committee from 1999 – 2003, a member of the Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation Grants Allocations Committee from 1996-2012, and served on the Environmental Board of the City of Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2012. Bo, a LEED Accredited Professional, serves on the Board of Directors of Orange Coast River Park Inc. and the Orange County CREEC Network Advisory Committee. Always remember… Unless.
Lori Whalen Education & Community Relations Director
Lori has worked in the environmental education field for over a decade. She joined the ENC staff in 2003. Lori is responsible for the ENC’s marketing and communications, as well as the administrative functions of the ENC’s educational and volunteer programs. She supervises an amazing flock of Naturalists and Volunteers! Previously she has worked for The Nature Conservancy, the City of Huntington Beach, and the Orange County Department of Education. Lori has a BS in Animal Science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an MA in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. She is currently an officer of the Nonprofit Professional Alumni Chapter of the California State University Fullerton Alumni Association. In her free time she likes to restore habitat!
Maria Zalesky Development Director
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 118
As a professional in education for over 20 years at both the secondary and university levels, Maria’s career spanned a variety of roles from teaching to parent relations, alumni relations and development. She has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Iowa with majors in Communications, Education and Spanish. After graduating from college, Maria spent eight years living and teaching in Alaska. Maria is an outdoors enthusiast with hiking, biking and kayaking as some of her favorite ways to spend leisure time.
Sama Wareh Community Outreach Director
Sama Wareh, our Community Outreach Director, joined the ENC staff in 2010. Sama is responsible for the administrative functions of the ENC’s Traveling Naturalist and Community Outreach programs. When Sama is not out and about teaching workshops and programs at schools and the ENC, she spends her time hiking, drinking coffee, teaching art lessons, working on new art pieces, illustrating children’s books, creating documentaries, or is off on some crazy new adventure. Sama has a Master of Science Degree in Environmental Education from Cal-State Fullerton.
Sarah Fitzgerald Facility Manager & Naturalist
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 107
Sarah Fitzgerald has three distinct passions: Children, Nature and the Environment. Educated in a wide variety of areas including child, interpersonal and abnormal psychology, Sarah exemplifies her dynamic and thoughtful teaching style every single day. With over a dozen years of varied experience as naturalist, summer camp director, camp counselor and support specialist, she brings an energetic learning experience to those she teaches and to everyone around her.
Leslie Helliwell Museum Collection Manager & Naturalist
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 102
Leslie handles the permits, takes care of the displays, organizes the library, and is our resident butterfly wrangler. She has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies/Forestry from Northern Arizona University, and has been in the eco-education business since 2003. She delights in telling stories about the night sky, knows a lot of trivia, and has an extraordinarily acute sense of smell. In her free time she is an artist.
Hilary Mills Lead Naturalist/Horticulture Manager
Hilary has an Environmental Science degree from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She also attended the School for International Training Sustainability & Environmental Action in Australia. Hilary was a kayaking Tour Guide in the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, educating guests on native marine wildlife, geography, and promoting marine conservation efforts. She also worked as an Instructor with the Ocean Discovery Institute, where she taught elementary students hands-on lab activities in marine biology and ecology. She enjoys hiking, spending time outdoors, and loves working with and studying native plants.
Ali Aguarino Facility Maintenance Manager
Ali has been working in science and outdoor education for almost 20 years. As the Facility Maintenance Manager, he is responsible for the protection and enhancement of the Environmental Nature Center’s grounds including the implementation of improvements and maintenance activities. He also teaches educational programs. Prior to working at the ENC, Ali was the Grounds Keeper and Naturalist for the Orange County Department of Education, where he also taught outdoor science education. He also worked on the Island of Saipan as a Middle School Teacher. Ali received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in the Philippines, where he was born and raised. His hobbies include hiking, photography, bike riding, and gardening.
Chhay Liv Lead Naturalist
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 105
Chhay has always been passionate about learning and discovered that learning led to teaching. To help foster his teaching and leadership roles, he volunteered for Camp Titan at the California State University of Fullerton for a period of three years. Chhay became a Naturalist and soon after, a Supervisor of Nature Programs at Oak Canyon Nature Center in 2008 and further refined his skills. In 2011, Chhay became the science educator at New Village Leadership Academy private school, creating and delivering original scientific curriculum to children with specialized lifestyles in Hollywood. His passion for teaching and knack for being able to connect with children, led him to be hired as a full time Individual Study Program (ISP) Mentor Teacher of elementary education. In late 2013, Chhay joined the Environmental Nature Center, “I have found my happy place!”
Valerie Bain Traveling Naturalist
Valerie Bain is an Early Childhood Educator with an extensive background in Child Development. She joined the Environmental Nature Center staff as a Nature Camp Teacher in the Summer of 2009, and joined the staff full time in 2015. Valerie has degrees in Child Development, Early Childhood Education, Psychology and a Master’s in School Social Work, specializing in students with Special Needs. She attended Long Beach City College & California State University Long Beach. Valerie taught preschool at the Long Beach City College Child Development Center for four years & has been immersed in the field of Environmental Education ever since. Valerie loves to connect children & families with nature through hands-on science activities. Her favorite season is summer, when she is an ENC Nature Camp Teacher. In her free time Valerie loves to spend time with her daughter Faith amongst the Redwoods in Big Sur (where she fell in love with nature and camping – Thanks Dad!).
Karen Letz Naturalist
Karen works at the ENC on Saturdays. You might see her leading children in a scout program or a birthday party. When not at the center she is either working with young children or traveling.
Kathy Wiedel Naturalist
Kathy has been a Naturalist at the ENC for over a decade! She discovered that she wanted to be a Naturalist while chaperoning her daughter’s 5th grade field trip. Another mom leaned over and said, “They get paid for this!” Kathy has been hooked ever since. Kathy says: “I never suspected that I would love this job so much and enjoy creating wonder for nature in children.”
Jenifer Evans Naturalist
Born on a tropical island with the ocean and boondocks to play in, love of nature comes easily for Jenifer. But, it was her high school biology teacher, Robert House, who first inspired her with the wonder of science and nature. A senior at Newport Harbor High School when the Environmental Nature Center was created, she was able to participate in planting the first trees and telephone pole fence. After extensive travel she again lives in this area and is married with three children. Her two sons are Eagle Scouts with Troop 90 and her daughter was a Jr. Naturalist at the ENC. Jenifer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009 from California State University Fullerton with a Liberal Science Major and a Natural Science Minor. She is grateful to be at the ENC and continues to marvel at the interconnectedness of all things.
Chris Holland Naturalist
Chris began his Naturalist career as a volunteer last year. We loved him so much that we hired him! When Chris is not teaching he is a Residential Sales & Leasing agent at Evergreen Realty and Associates, Inc. He likes the San Diego Chargers and listens to Country Music.
Fiorella Gardella Naturalist
As a Naturalist and Camp Teacher, Fiorella is responsible for teaching outdoor environmental and social science education to children. Her goals are to strengthen students’ awareness and appreciation for the environment, as well as enhance their knowledge of science concepts and protecting the natural environment. Fiorella has more than 9 years of experience as an educator and researcher. She is knowledgeable in sustainability and environmental issues. She gained her experience as a middle school science teacher in Florida and has also taught environmental education summer programs in Peru and California. Fiorella received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Ecology at University of California, Irvine and her Master of Arts degree in Teaching from Miami University.
Tami Wilhelm Naturalist & Camp Teacher
Tami Wilhelm has been working and playing in the field of environmental education for many years. Tami worked for the Orange County Department of Education’s environmental education program. She also currently works as a Science Specialist with Girls Inc. Tami has been a Camp Teacher each Summer at the ENC for several years, and she frequently works weekend as well!
Helen de la Maza Nature Camp Teacher
Helen de la Maza has been working and playing in the field of education for almost 20 years. As a science and environmental educator she has written and taught curricula for K – 12 students, and trained adults on instructional strategies for teaching outdoors. Helen worked for the Orange County Department of Education’s environmental education program for nine years as a naturalist, staff trainer, and curriculum developer. She was also a curriculum writer for a statewide project brought about by California’s Education and the Environment Initiative legislation, and has recently been working with Orange County nonformal and formal organizations to assist in curriculum development and professional development in pedagogy. She also works part-time as a Science Specialist with the Irvine Unified School District. Helen’s 27 years of education have resulted in a double BA in Biological Sciences and Comparative Literature, MS in Wildlife Science, MA in Curriculum and Instruction, and single and multiple subject California teaching credentials. Helen has been a Camp Teacher each Summer at the ENC for several years.
Bob Tres Nature Camp Teacher
Bob graduated from Concordia University in 1995, a Liberal Studies Major with a minor in Child Development. Bob has worked full time as an Outdoor Educator since 1996 with the Orange County Department of Education during the school year, but he joins us every summer as a Nature Camp Teacher! He has also been a first aid and CPR instructor with the Red Cross since 1991. In his free time Bob loves to be outdoors hiking, running, listening to music and laughing.
David Rector Nature Camp Teacher
David has worked in the field of outdoor education since 1980. He has worked with ENC for more than 5 years, as well as with federal and state agencies in applied sciences and education. He is a proud graduate of the College of the Siskiyous, where he studied volcanology. He also attended Cal State Los Angeles and Cal Poly Pomona majoring in geology and education. If he’s not building something weird to share with folks, he’s out exploring something weird to share with folks; just ask his friends at the ENC.
Meg Dunfee Nature Camp Teacher
Originally from a farm in rural Ohio, Meg grew up with a deep appreciation for nature and a touch of wanderlust. Exploration, adventure and a passion for science have led Meg to live, work and play in 43 states. With a BA in historical seismology and an MA in Museum Studies, Meg has focused on informal STEM education. This is her first time teaching at the ENC Nature Camp, but she has over 4 years of experience in nature and science program development. This includes experience designing activities for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum as well as managing a residential camp program and Nature Centers.
Stephanie Palma Nature Camp Teacher
Born and raised in Seal Beach, CA, Stephanie has always had a love of the water and the outdoors. Growing up hiking and camping with her family, Stephanie, the oldest of four children, developed a passion for nature and for teaching. Stephanie recently graduated with a BS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and for the past year she has been a field naturalist and traveling scientist with the Orange County Department of Education. She is also a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpreters. In her spare time she enjoys sailing boats and playing volleyball.
Laura Councilor Nature Camp Teacher
Originally from Michigan, Laura Councilor recently moved to Southern California from the Washington, DC area. Laura holds a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Maryland. With over 15 years of experience working with youth in grades Pre-K – 12, Laura is excited to be focusing on science and outdoor education. During the school year, she works for the Orange County Department of Education. In her free time, Laura enjoys hiking, bird watching, and reading.
Katie Levensailor Nature Camp Teacher
Katie earned her BS in Conservation Biology and MS in Environmental Studies. She works full time as science teacher at University High School, teaching biology, marine science and AP environmental science. During the summer she spends her time teaching summer camp at the ENC, a job she has loved doing since 2009. In her free time Katie loves to be outdoors hiking, snowboarding, and hanging out at the beach.
Board of Directors
John Parenti, President
Christopher Blank, V.P. Finance / Treasurer
Rick Wandrocke, V.P. Fund Development
Bob Kelly, co-V.P. Education and Site
Robert House, co-V.P. Education and Site
Dan Heinfeld, V.P. Board Governance
Homer Bludau, Secretary
Lisa Wren Jeppe