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Team & Board

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Bo Glover Executive Director

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 101 | more about Bo

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 a member of the Orange County CREEC Network Advisory Committee, 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 is a member of the Market Leader Advisory Board of the OC USGBC. Bo was also recently the recipient of the Lakers Community Champion award, presented by the Lakers and LG Solar on the Court at halftime, to recognize him for his work at the ENC. He received the 2018 Leadership Award from the Association of Nature Center Administrators in September 2018. Always remember… Unless.

Lori Whalen Assistant Director

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 103 | more about Lori

Lori has worked in the non-profit field for nearly two decades. She joined the ENC staff in 2003. Lori oversees the ENC’s communications, education programs, volunteer programs and horticulture, and assists with funds development. Previously she has worked for The Nature Conservancy, the City of Huntington Beach, and the Orange County Department of Education. Lori has a BS from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an MA in Communications from California State University, Fullerton. She is a member of the Marketing Committee for the Association of Nature Center Administrators. In her free time, she likes to hike, camp, and garden with native plants. She was the recipient of the prestigious Nathaniel Lamm Scholarship Award for excellence in Environmental Education on 2002, and the California Senate “Women Making a Difference” award in 2012.

Vanessa “Nessie” Sener ENC Nature Preschool Director

email me | 949-629-1044 ext. 201

Vanessa is a native to Orange County who grew up as an outdoor enthusiast, swimming off the shores and roaming the suburban wilds of her beloved hometown, San Clemente.  She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks School of Education and brings over twenty years of experience as an inclusive Early Years Educator to the Nature Preschool.  Vanessa came from the Irvine Child Development Center where she served as a staff representative on their Board of Directors, participated in the Irvine Pre-K/TK/K Articulation Committee and has been a longstanding member of National Association for the Education of Young Children as well as the Orange County Association for the Education of Young Children.  Vanessa has been with the Nature Preschool since its inception as an ENC member and Camp Naturalist, continuing on as our Curriculum Coordinator and Lead Nature Teacher in the Bear Classroom.  She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for children.  She has spent her career teaching and sharing her compassion, love, and respect for all living things nurturing a connection with the natural world.  She has constructed lasting, impactful relationships with children by helping them build a strong sense of self and offering unconditional acceptance, inspirational learning experiences, independence, and reflective engagement developed through a play-based, child-led philosophy.

Mindy Schwartz  Education Director

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 102

Mindy comes to us with a B.S. in Environmental Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and an M.S. in Conservation Ecology & Sustainable Development from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she also earned a certificate in nonprofit management. During an internship at the Environmental Education Center at Lord Stirling Park, Mindy was exposed to writing and executing her own environmental education lessons using the outdoors as a classroom – and she fell in love with it.  For over 15 years she has kept busy as an environmental educator and naturalist at a variety of zoos, nature centers, and outdoor schools.  Most recently, Mindy was employed by the California Science Center as an Education Program Specialist and at Trash for Teaching as the Director of Creative Programming.  She brings her skills of leadership, professional development, and creative problem solving to the ENC. Her passion is building collaborations with other organizations, allowing both partners to go beyond what they would do alone. In her spare time Mindy enjoys traveling, photography, team trivia, and swing dancing.

Karie Neukomm Facility Manager

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 107

Karie has a BS in biological aspects of conservation from the University of Wisconsin and joined ENC in 2021. A desire to return to her roots brought her to ENC. She moved to southern California with her family and kitties in 2017. Karie’s love of the natural world led to many years volunteering in three different midwestern states as a master gardener, in wildlife rehabilitation in Wisconsin, and in teaching outdoor environmental education in Illinois and Wisconsin. Her work experience includes office management at a city nature center in central Illinois followed by higher education administration for the past 20 years. Since moving to California Karie has been volunteering for Scout Troop 35 in Laguna Beach with her twins while working at a southern Orange County university. Karie loves prairies, strong handshakes, and historical fiction. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, drawing, writing, and playing guitar and ukulele.

Ali

Ali Aguarino Facility Maintenance Manager

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 109

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.

Hugo Sopeña Horticulture Manager

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Hugo is responsible for the development, protection and enhancement of the native plant communities and landscapes at the Environmental Nature Center, ENC Nature Preschool and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary. He monitors and manages our plant communities so that they provide healthy habitat for native wildlife and are aesthetically pleasing to human visitors. Hugo graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science (concentration in Ecology and Environmental Science). Coursework in Botany, Plant Physiology, and Landscape Ecology doubled with his experience working at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary for two years makes him an excellent choice for the role! Hugo started at the ENC as a Horticulture Intern. He also volunteered at the CSU Fullerton Arboretum Nursery, the Gardena Willows Wetland Preserve, and he completed a Native Garden Internship at CSU Dominguez Hills. Proof that volunteering helps you with your career goals!

Shelbi Richardson Lead Naturalist

email me | 949-324-9466

Shelbi graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelors in Environmental Systems. While in school, she interned and worked at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in the plankton lab studying krill and tuna crabs. After college she worked in the Outdoor Education Department for the Ocean Institute and Crystal Cove Conservancy where she fell in love with teaching kids about the wonders of nature. When she’s not working you can find her hiking around searching for butterflies or snorkeling in the ocean.

Briana Picquelle Lead Naturalist

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 105

Bri (also known as “Butterfly Bri” around the ENC) graduated from CSU Chico in 2020 with a B.S. in Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management. Before leaving sunny SoCal for Chico State University, Bri enjoyed her time at Orange Coast College and found deep connection to her community through volunteer work with a club called Food Riders. The club recovers leftover cafeteria food and donates to local shelters…all via bicycle! During her undergraduate career up North, she worked as a trip leader with an organization called Adventure Outings, co-leading college students on backpacking, canoeing and stand-up paddle boarding trips in various parts of Northern California. Bri’s love and admiration for the natural world was sparked during her childhood, where she traveled with her parents up the California coast almost every weekend for their outrigger canoe races. She grew up canoeing, kayaking, camping, hiking and backpacking, and has developed a deep appreciation for the world of outdoor education. In her free time, she likes to roller skate, cook, make collages with vintage magazines, go to Zumba, thrift-shop, and coffee-shop hop.

Eric Essen Enrichment Specialist

email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 119

Eric is a graduate of Vanguard University with a BA in Psychology. After college, Eric worked as an English and reading comprehension tutor before serving his community as Recreation Leader, overseeing the R.O.C.K.S program at various elementary schools in Costa Mesa. Eric has been on various mountain biking trips with his family throughout the Pacific Northwest and other areas, camping in the wilderness and riding between destinations. He is an Eagle Scout of Troop 339, whose fellow Scouts have conducted  a number of Eagle Scout Projects here at the ENC. In his free time, Eric enjoys bike riding, cooking, and playing games.

Kathy Weidel Naturalist

After many years working in the corporate world and raising her daughter, Kathy found the ENC and realized she was home.  Teaching children and experiencing the ENC on a frequent basis has given her great satisfaction.

Julie Williams Naturalist

Julie is a nature-inspired artist and birding enthusiast who comes to the ENC after working as a Naturalist for Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary for four years. She has also served both the ENC and Tucker as a volunteer. Her devotion to sharing her passion for wildlife and habitat conservation shapes her involvement in teaching children and exploring nature with people of all ages. Her favorite pursuits include creating, birding, traveling to nature preserves, camping and documenting her trips in photographs. She also loves folk music, her tiny garden, a well-written book and morning coffee with her backyard birds. She has taught nature painting classes and has shown her mixed media pieces and sculpture at local art events for many years. She holds a BA degree in Art from Scripps College.

Janelle Paz Naturalist

Janelle graduated from CSU Long Beach in 2018 with a B.S. in marine biology. During her time as an undergraduate, she was able to be a part of a fish ecology lab, travel to Japan and Puerto Rico, and spend a semester on Catalina Island. She has also been a volunteer at Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro since 2017, where they rehabilitate pinnipeds back to the wild. Currently she works for the city of Newport Beach as a senior recreation leader for the kids after school program and she is also a marine natural interpreter (tide pool educator).  In her free time, she likes to have game nights with friends, dance, workout, stretch and roller blade. When weather permits she likes to scuba dive and snowboard. She’s an animal lover, Disney fanatic, and Star Wars nerd.

Joe Reed Naturalist

Joe graduated from Humboldt State in 2019 with a BA in Environmental Sociology. He has worked extensively with the Surfrider Foundation reducing single use plastics in the oceans. He became the Ocean Friendly Restaurant Coordinator in Humboldt County where he helped pass a local plastic food-ware ban in the city of Arcata. Now, he volunteers with the Bolsa Chica Land Trust doing habitat restoration, and works closely with the Huntington Surfrider Chapter.  Joe enjoys Surfing, Snowboarding, and Comedy.

Holland

Chris Holland Naturalist

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Chris began his Naturalist career as a volunteer at the ENC long ago! 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.

Harmonie Wooley Naturalist

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Harmonie Wooley grew up in SoCal and studied graphic design at the FIDM in Los Angeles.  She has always had an appreciation for the natural world and in 2013 she and her son signed up for a falconry course.  What began as a fun bonding experience between Harmonie and her son turned into deep love and respect of birds of prey!  A year later she began volunteering at the Orange County Birds of Prey Center (OCBPC), where she learned all about how to care for, present, and enrich rehabilitated raptors from all over Orange County.  Harmonie is now a supervisor at OCBPC where she trains volunteers on raptor-handling skills.  She joined our naturalist staff in 2018 and has been bringing birds of prey to several of the ENC’s public, traveling, and enrichment programs.  When Harmonie is not at the ENC or OCBPC, she enjoys embarking on new adventures with her family.

Michael Gomez Naturalist

Michael studied neurobiology and biological sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He worked at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory assisting with the UCI Brain Camp and Brain Explorer Academy, where students from middle and high school learned about the nature of the brain. He’s worked with children at various capacities such as soccer coach, dance instructor, and science tutor. He also serves adults through life coaching that focuses on neuroplasticity, brain health and emotional intelligence. Michael is curious, and he enjoys all kinds of adventurous activities. Some of his hobbies include dancing, reading, calligraphy and boxing. He loves animals and is passionate about children’s education.

Jahtziry Hernandez Camp Teacher

Certified Preschool teacher from Orange Coast College, with years working with children. Currently, teaching at a Waldorf school enjoying the magic and connection through our natural environment. Enjoys new travels, nature walks and strong love for coffee.

Ashley Nick Camp Teacher

During the school year Ashley teaches elementary school at the Arbor Learning Community in Fullerton.  Her favorite subjects to teach are nature studies, forensics, and chess. She grew up climbing trees and running barefoot on her family’s small citrus orchard in San Diego. She believes in the importance of nature play for all children and loves the great outdoors. In her free time she plays board games, acts in musicals, and boogie boards at the beach with her 4 kids.

Araceli Martinez Camp Teacher

Araceli graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a BA degree in Child Development and Family Studies. She has over 18 years experience educating young children. Araceli enjoys being part of children’s growth and development. Her hobbies include hiking, scrapbooking, traveling and all things Disney.

Chris Kadletz Camp Teacher

Chris Kadletz graduated from UC Santa Barbara in Spring of 2020 with a B.A in Environmental Studies. Whilst completing his education, he was an educator for the Kids in Nature program at UCSB and an Urban Forester at Elings Park. After college, he moved to Arizona and became the Director of Environmental Education at the Grand Canyon Caverns. He loves playing instruments and enjoys just about all things outdoors: backpacking, rock climbing, snowboarding, and surfing.

Board of Directors

Chris Bosley, President
John Parenti, V.P. Finance / Treasurer
Bob Kelly, V.P. Education and Site
Shana Buxser, V.P. Funds Development
Arthur Jeppe, V.P. Board Governance
Christopher Blank, Secretary
Laura Blumenstein
Dan Heinfeld
Robert House
Rick John
Parker Pinkalla
Craig Smith
Rick Wandrocke

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