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 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
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.
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
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.
Chandler Barger Early Childhood Education Specialist
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 111
Chandler has both a B.S. in Ecology in Evolution and a professional certificate in Informal STEM Education from UCSB. Chandler has been passionate about environmental education since she was first exposed to it as a Volunteer & Mentor at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Since then, she has continued to foster her love of educating the public about our natural world through her work for nonprofits like Earth Resource Foundation, USZWBC, US Coral Reef Task Force, Isla Vista Surfrider and UCSB’s Marine Science Institute. In addition to her love for the environment, Chandler found her love for working with youth through her work at Girls Inc. leading Transitional Kindergarten STEM programming and most recently overseeing camp programming at the MOXI museum in Santa Barbara. In her free time, Chandler enjoys outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and surfing. She also loves experiencing live music and cooking new meals.
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.
Chris Holland Naturalist
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
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.
Skyler Forche Naturalist
Skyler began his college education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as a Microbiology major. He soon learned that his passions were in the outdoors and changed his major to Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and began studying at Colorado State University. Nonprofits Skyler has volunteered with include the Spectacled Bear Society, Trees Water People, and the Environmental Learning Center in Colorado. Skyler began as an Early Childhood Education Intern at the ENC before becoming a part-time Naturalist. Hobbies of his include hiking, camping, and swimming in the ocean.
Allison Fedrick Naturalist
Beginning her professional life in theater and cultural studies, Allison Fedrick decided to shift her career toward informal education. She completed a Masters in Museum Studies and focused on museum education, exhibits, and public programs. With time, her passions for natural history and life sciences were revealed. Once more she returned to school to specialize in wildlife conservation, animal care, and environmental education. Since then, Allison has worked for a variety of organizations, including the California State Park system and The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. She was thrilled by the opportunity to join the team at the Environmental Nature Center and daily sees the positive impact this amazing organization has made upon its community far and wide.
Desi Chalmers Naturalist
Desi knew she was curious about nature ever since her high school environmental science class came to ENC to sample leaf litter for a project on microfauna. She went on to study Environmental Science and Management at University of California, Davis. During her time in Davis, she worked on plant ecology research, and helped lead a program called Sprout Up, where college students would visit elementary classrooms to teach hands-on environmental science lessons. Today she splits her time between teaching programs at ENC and Crystal Cove Conservancy. She spends her free time baking pies, paddleboarding, at the beach, and skiing in the mountains.
Raquel Friedmann Naturalist
Raquel has over 8 years of experience working in the education field. She has taught environmental education with various non-profit organizations and also has experience teaching in a formal education setting. Raquel previously worked at the ENC as our Early Childhood Education Specialist, but is now going back to school to become a credentialed high school environmental science teacher. When on breaks, Raquel loves coming back to the ENC to teach Little Naturalist camp.
Shannon Subers Naturalist
Shannon is a science communicator, artist, and conservation educator. As a child in landlocked Pennsylvania, she dreamed of being a mermaid when she grew up. Although she never quite grew a fish tail, she was able to move to California and find her passion advocating for conservation. Her Masters research focused on using art and science to save the ocean. During the school year, she works with a program that brings hands-on STEM activities to students all over Los Angeles Unified School District. Outside of the classroom she enjoys photography, sewing, swimming, and recreating desserts from the Great British Baking Show.
Gordon Dean Naturalist
Gordon makes learning alongside his students a top priority. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Literacy, Learning, and Leadership with a Minor in Special Education from the University of Arizona. He has been teaching and working with children for 9 years, including outdoor education, historical re-enactments, summer camp, and special education. Gordon also has a passion for all things wildlife, including caring for his pet snails, gardening, and scouring local rivers for one of his favorite animals: frogs. Gordon feeds off of his students’ enthusiasm and curiosity and, in the process, finds himself learning something new each day, about the student, the world, or himself.
Laura Millard Naturalist
Laura is thrilled for the opportunity to inspire kids with the same wonder about nature that made her try to live in her backyard as a kid. Her curiosity about the natural world took her to UC San Diego where she earned her Masters in Biology and Bachelors in Biochemistry. While completing her thesis there in plant biochemistry she also worked as a teaching assistant, where she became involved in research on the cognitive science of learning. In school she was passionate about her coursework in biogeochemistry, fossil studies, the chemistry of pollution, and evolutionary ecology. Laura is now a college instructor of Biology during the school year and is ecstatic to be spending her summers sharing nature with children. When she’s not working Laura loves backpacking, oil painting, growing chili peppers, and telling dogs they’re such good boys.
Thomas Morris Naturalist
Thomas graduated from Gonzaga University, in Spokane Washington, this past May. In May he graduated with a Degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Sustainable Business. Thomas has a passion for taking friends outside especially students. He has a passion for nature play and sharing his love of the natural world with those around him. When not teaching you can find him mountain biking, climbing, skiing, or playing soccer.
Britta Moore Naturalist
Britta is an enthusiastic naturalist and educator that grew up beachcombing, tide-pooling, hiking, and camping in California. With a strong love for animals and learning about the intricacies of the natural world, Britta earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology at California State University of Long Beach. After graduating, she sought ways to share her love of learning with others through teaching in summer camps and public schools; and obtained her teaching credential. She continued teaching science (along with some geography and yoga) in K-12 private and public schools for the next nine years. Later she earned her Masters in Teaching Biological Sciences with a focus in Conservation Leadership and taught at a Forest School. In her spare time, you can find Britta exploring trails with her husband, their preschooler, and their dogs.
Kate Chambers Naturalist
Kate Chambers is a Southern California native who grew up exploring National Parks and local trails. Born in Long Beach, Kate attended UC Davis where she earned her BA in History in 2015. While at UCD, Kate worked in radio as well as the on campus bike shop where she developed her lifelong passion for cycling. Living in Northern California while attending an agricultural school fostered a deeper appreciation for nature, equity, and conservation that Kate has carried into her postgraduate life. Since graduating, Kate has returned home where she’s currently in the Single Subject credential program at CSULB. In her free time, Kate enjoys taking her dog to the beach, corralling her two cats, and exploring new places.
Rob Lyons Naturalist
Rob is graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in English Literature. He recently finished his first full year teaching at Seashore Academy in Huntington Beach, and plans to continue his career as an educator. Rob’s been on countless camping trips to places such as Catalina, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Joshua Tree. In his spare time he loves to read, surf, and play beach volleyball.
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
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.
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