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.
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 12 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.
Heather Johnson Office Director
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 107
Heather Johnson is the ENC’s Office Director. She has a History degree, with an emphasis on Public and Oral History, from California State University, San Bernardino. With over 10 years of experience in the managerial field, she has valuable organization, quality management, and customer relations skills. In her work, Heather carries the motto of “quality in a service is not what you put into it, it is what the client gets out of it.” In her free time, Heather loves being creative!
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!
Sami Whitcher Early Childhood Education Specialist
email me | 949-645-8489 ext. 119
Sami is a certified early childhood educator with her AA in Anthropology and is currently working on her BS in Applied Anthropology at Cal Poly Pomona. Prior to her employment at the ENC she was an educator at Riverside County Parks for over 7 years. She is a hobbyist entomologist, loves backpacking and hiking, enjoys her newfound love of gardening, and most of all she adores her kitten Pharaoh!
Shelbi Richardson Lead Naturalist
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.
Eric Essen Naturalist
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.
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.
Janelle Paz Camp Teacher
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.
Allison Cherry Camp Teacher
Allison is an Iowa Native and was a Natural Resource Educator with the Iowa Department of Naturalist Resources for many years where she taught 40 plus nature activities to 15,000 plus annual visitors. During her time there, Allison also received her Hunter Education Instructor license, organized AmeriCorps volunteer events to plant native milkweed for Monarch butterflies and participated in a federal bird banding study through the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL). Her greatest passion, however, is Herpetology so she created a program designed to teach the public about snakes and society’s misconception about them. Allison turned this knowledge into a book and recently signed a contract with Olympia Publishers so be on a lookout for “How to Snuggle a Snake” in the near future! When not teaching, hobbies are: thrifting, going to the library (she doesn’t have internet, cable, or anything of that sort at home…only a DVD player and TV that’s rarely on), trying to visit all the National Parks, the dog beach, whale watching, road trips, hiking, cruises, making reusable bags out of t-shirts, photography (Allison actually is a Contributor for Getty Images) and just spending time with her family outside and away from technology as much as possible.
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.
Joe Reed Camp Teacher
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.
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.
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