Sue Bierlich Nature Preschool Director
email me | 949-629-1044 ext. 201
Sue has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 35 years. She taught as an Early Childhood Education college instructor for 28 years at Orange Coast College and Fullerton College. Sue has been a child care center administrator for 15 years. She has a BA degree in Child Development specializing as a Child Mental Health Specialist from California State University at Northridge, and a MA degree in Human Development with an Early Childhood Education specialization from Pacific Oaks College. Sue’s thesis focused on the values of nature and outdoor classrooms for preschool age children. She is an Outdoor Classroom Specialist and currently completing additional training with the Outdoor Classroom Project. Sue enjoys seeing children engaged and immersed in nature with hands on learning activities, so they can expand their inquiry, thinking, and knowledge. She loves being involved in a child’s developmental process – like caterpillars turning into butterflies – we nurture them to fly.
Devan Upchurch Nature Preschool Assistant Director
email me | 949-629-1044 ext. 202
Devan has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 10 years and has also been an Early Childhood instructor at Orange Coast College for over four years. She has a BA degree in Child and Adolescent Development and a MA degree in Leadership in Early Childhood Education. She strongly believes all children actively learn through messy, hands on explorations of their natural world and through the strong relationships with their caregivers and peers. She strives to help children develop a love and appreciation for the natural world around them. Growing up in Orange County allowed her to develop a fond love for the ocean and hiking. In her free time, she enjoys reading, camping, cooking and swimming.
Kathy Satchell Enrollment and Inclusion Specialist
email me | 949-629-1044 ext. 200
Kathy has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 30 years. She has worked with children from Toddlers to Pre-K and has spent the last 20 years in administration. She earned her BS degree in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Sociology from California State University Fullerton. She feels very fortunate to be working with an amazing group of nature and child loving people. Kathy grew up in the small mountain community of Wrightwood, where she spent a lot of time in all kinds of outdoor activities. Kathy loves to spend time camping with her husband and 2 daughters, walking her dogs and doing creative crafty projects. Her favorite camping spot is Refugio State Beach where her family spends almost every Thanksgiving.
Vanessa “Nessie” Sener Curriculum Coordinator and Lead Nature Teacher, Class 3 “Bears”
Nessie is an Orange County native who grew up embracing local outdoor/nature experiences. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks School of Education and is an advocate for children, all animals, nature and the environment. Her passion for teaching and connecting with children in nature is inspired by compassion, a love and respect of all living things and building a sense of self.
Nessie strives to build impactful relationships with children by offering unconditional acceptance, inspirational learning experiences, independence, reflective engagement and creativity, developed through a play-based, child-led philosophy.
Nessie enjoys spontaneous adventures and travel with her husband Nix, DIYing, adopting pets and eating lots of vegan food.
Amanda Wilson Nature Teacher, Class 3 “Bears”
Amanda has loved every minute of her 4 years of teaching! She attended Orange Coast College and received an Associates in Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She has a Child Development Teacher Certificate and Permit, and her added experience helps her feel confident in guiding and teaching young children. Amanda is heavily art influenced in multiple medias, specifically in ceramics which she loves bringing into the classroom. She has a love for animals, enjoys being in nature, and is excited to share its beauty and importance with children.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -George Bernard Shaw
Morgan Salas-Hall Nature Teacher, Class 3 “Bears”
Morgan is currently going to school for a Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and, she attended Orange Coast College and received an Child Development Teacher Certificate and Permit! She has been working with children for 3 years now. Morgan is passionate about inclusion, issues of equity, and cultural competence. She is also passionate in fostering literacy into those early foundational, developing years with little ones! Morgan is a searcher, always looking for new and natural ways of hands-on learning whenever possible! She is excited to blend play-based curriculum and kindergarten readiness education into the classroom! “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” -Aristotle
Laura Dinsdale Lead Nature Teacher, Class 2 “Coyotes”
Laura Dinsdale is the lead teacher in the Coyote Class. She loves getting messy with children as they work with different art materials to create and manipulate. When not working with children Laura can be found outdoors hiking, camping, and playing soccer with her boyfriend. She has an appreciation for nature and the outdoors which grows with every adventure she goes on. She earned her Bachelor’s in Art from San Francisco State University. She went through the Early Childhood program at Orange Coast College where she earned her Preschool Teacher Certificate and Master Teacher Permit. She has worked at The Harry and Grace Steele Children’s Center at OCC for 10 years and is now enjoying working at the ENC Nature Preschool.
Gianna Shreve Nature Teacher, Class 2 “Coyotes”
Gianna earned her BA in Child Development and Family Studies from California State University Long Beach. She has enjoyed teaching preschool aged children for the past five years. Gianna grew up on a farm in Montana during her early years and appreciates the value of introducing children to the beauty of nature. She loves snowboarding, hiking, camping and spending time at the beach.
Jordyn Bush Nature Teacher, Class 2 “Coyotes”
Jordyn earned her associates degree in Early Childhood Education and preschool teacher certificate this past year and has worked in the field for three years. She has a smart and curious four year old who inspires her to achieve her goals and strive for an environment that is best for her and our future generation. Jordyn believes that this starts with an appreciation of the natural world. Jordyn is still attending school, but when she has free time she loves to spend it outside, marveling at nature’s beauty.
Amber Durham Lead Nature Teacher, Class 1 “Tortoise”
Amber is a Nature Teacher in the Tortoise classroom at the ENC Nature Preschool. She has been in the Early Childhood Education field for 6 years and has worked with children from infancy to five years old. She graduated from Pacific Oaks College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with a specialization in Trauma. Amber is an advocate for children, nature, and animals, and believes every child should have the opportunity to fall in love with nature, experience animal interactions, and become planet protectors. In her spare time, she enjoys attending concerts, crafting, Vegan cooking, gardening, and hiking.
Larissa Hacke Nature Teacher, Class 1 “Tortoise”
Larissa has been in the Early Childhood Education field for 5 years. She graduated from Orange Coast College with an Associates Degree and a Certificate in Infant and Toddler Development. She has five years of experience working in the toddler classroom of a local preschool. In the fall she will be continuing her education, pursuing a BA in Infant and Adolescent Development at Cal State Fullerton. Larissa will also be a teacher in the Tortoise Room at the ENC Nature Preschool. Larissa loves to explore nature and all of the learning opportunities it holds for children. She is a big kid at heart!
Paige Pierce Nature Teacher, Class 1 “Tortoise”
If there are two things Paige Pierce loves most, it’s children and nature (though playing darts comes in close). Paige grew up outside of Yosemite, adventuring around the Sierras and enjoying endless days at Bass Lake. Paige graduated from the University of Santa Cruz with a BA in sociology. Paige stepped into professional childcare when she started her own at-home daycare when her son, Everett, was born. Everett is a now running around as a Coyote student, screaming “ahhrooo” wherever he roams. She wants to instill the importance of nature in him and all children because outdoor nature play shouldn’t be forgotten in our current technology world.
Anne Schupak Nature Teacher, Class 1 “Tortoise”
Anne has been working in the early childhood field for 25 years and can’t imagine doing anything else. She has a BA in Psychology from Sonoma State and completed her early childhood units at Orange Coast College. Working at the ENC Nature Preschool is a dream come true for Anne. She grew up in the area and is a Newport Harbor High School graduate. “I have very fond memories of visiting the ENC and taking my children there,” said Anne. “I love being outside and learning about nature and then sharing that knowledge with the children.” Anne’s hobbies include sailing, hiking, gardening, skiing, kayaking and playing pickle ball.
Araceli Martinez Assistant Nature 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.
Karis Simons Assistant Nature Teacher
Karis has been coming to the Environmental Nature Center since she was eleven years old, when she joined the ENC family as a camper. ENC Nature Camp quickly evolved from being a name on a list of camps to being THE camp that Karis always looked most forward to. She joined the ENC team as a Leader in Training (LIT) for four years – her entire High School career – and worked to instill an awareness of nature and the importance of preserving its beauty and wonder in our Campers. Karis also worked for years as an ENC Animal Care Intern, caring for our Animal Ambassadors and training countless other interns to do the same. She was awarded the ENC Volunteer of the Year Award in 2018. She was inspired by her time as an LIT to take college classes in early childhood education, and when the ENC Nature Preschool opened in September she was hired as a Nature Teacher.
Board of Directors
Rick Wandrocke, President
Chris Bosley, V.P. Finance / Treasurer
Bob Kelly, co-V.P. Education and Site
Robert House, co-V.P. Education and Site
Arthur Jeppe, V.P. Board Governance
Christopher Blank, Secretary