Administrative Staff

 

Allison Collins | Director

Allison Collins

Allison Collins grew up outside of Salinas, CA, the "salad bowl of the world".  She is a graduate of UC Davis with a BA in Human Development and a minor in Education. She received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal State TEACH and completed a Master’s in Educational Leadership with an Administrative Credential from San Jose State University. Her passions in regard to outdoor education include increasing access and equity for all students and staff in the field, and a focus on positive social and emotional learning experiences. Her journey in outdoor education started right here at Jones Gulch as a naturalist intern in the 2008-2009 school year, and since then she has spent time as a naturalist, a 6th grade teacher, an afterschool programs coordinator, and as principal of San Joaquin County Office of Education’s Outdoor Education program.  She enjoys reading, cooking, and epic forest walks. She likes traveling by train and has been to all 50 states. She speaks Spanish, sings and plays the guitar. She has lived at Jones Gulch for 6 years and has a second grader at La Honda Elementary. She is returning to SMOE for a 3rd year. Allison’s nature name at outdoor education is Sorrel.

Jonathan Harris | Program Manager/Principal

Jonathan HarrisJonathan Harris grew up in Belmont, California, and he is a proud graduate of Fox Elementary, Ralston Middle and Carlmont High Schools.  He received two bachelor’s degrees from UCLA in Germanic Languages and History, with an emphasis in West African & Diaspora History. After working in summer camps and pre-schools for many summers through high school and college, Jonathan found himself at the University of San Francisco for his multiple subject teaching credential. He taught first and fourth grades at Belle Haven Elementary in the Ravenswood City School District for 6 years before moving to Ocean Shore Elementary School in Pacifica to teach a 4/5th Grade class for twenty years.  Throughout his time in the classroom, Jonathan, has loved nothing more than to teach in the great outdoors, organizing many overnight field trips and hikes.  He loves to mentor new educators and has taught in the teacher credentialing program at San Francisco State and had many student teachers over the years. Nature journaling, music, gardening, cooking and birding are among Jonathan’s passions, and he loves to share them with his two children and many students.  Jonathan speaks Spanish and German and has had the pleasure of visiting 38 countries. Jonathan’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Jay.

Amanda Lee | Outdoor Education Information and Registration

Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee grew up in San Francisco CA and is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Child and Youth Studies. She holds a program director permit in early childhood education and has built her communication and leadership skills with over ten years of working with children and fostering relationships with families. As site coordinator at St. Francis Preschool, she oversaw all program activities and events, managed staff and schedules, and led staff and parent meetings. She has also worked as both a teacher and coordinator at Gateway Child Development Center and as a teacher at Balboa Preschool. She has worked as a camp counselor, a site supervisor of a YMCA preschool and as a swim teacher working with children ranging from infants to teens. She is highly skilled at managing an office, using technology and interfacing with the public. She grew up going on annual camping trips with her family and joining the Salesian Boys’ and Girls’ club on their sleep-away camps. She enjoys rock climbing, biking, baking, swimming, and traveling. She likes to explore new trails and hikes throughout the Bay Area. She likes Disney and is also a Golden State Warriors fan. She speaks and understands Cantonese. She has worked at the 小蓝视频 for almost 4 years, and this will be her second year working with Outdoor Education. It’s been said she has the answer to any problem you may have.  

Senior Staff

 

Ania Golos | Senior Naturalist

Ania Golos

Ania grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of the University of Lynchburg with a BA in Environmental Studies and a Master’s in Public Health. Through the University of Georgia, she studied in Monteverde, Costa Rica where, with the goal of creating citizen engagement and stewardship of local streams, she worked with local communities by studying community health, freshwater macroinvertebrates and water quality including wastewater/greywater issues. During this time, she conducted water quality workshops and lab demonstrations for students. Much of her work was in the Bellbird Biological Corridor where she saw and heard a variety of birds including the famous three-wattled bellbird. As a naturalist with the Nature Foundation at Wintergreen, she developed plans for environmental education programs for the Virginia public school system, presented environmental education programs to visitors ages 6-70 including interactive nature hikes. Through advanced courses and trainings, she deepened her knowledge of medicinal and edible plants, mycology, geology, limnology, ornithology as well as local flora and fauna. She enjoys hiking and being in nature, inspired by her childhood summers spent at her grandparent’s home in the mountains and countryside of southern Poland. She hiked 8 hours to the crater of Volcan Conception when she visited Nicaragua. She also likes reading, painting, biking, photography and yoga. She is fluent in Polish.  She is returning to SMOE for a 3rd year. Ania’s nature name at outdoor education is Caldera.

Ben Sehl | Naturalist/Village Leader

Ben Sehl

Ben Sehl grew up in Redwood City, CA and is a graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Environmental Policy. He has done a variety of field research concerning trees, bees and birds in places like Western Montana, Costa Rica and Indiana.  He has worked as a naturalist at Dunes Learning Center in Indiana and as a naturalist at Sequoia National Park doing geology tours in Crystal Cave and leading astronomy programs. Ben also worked as a Naturalist in the Marin Headlands leading children’s outdoor education programs. Ben is an avid mushroom forager and enthusiast. He also enjoys birding and learning about new plants. He likes surfing, hiking, biking and playing the guitar. He is returning to SMOE for a fourth year. It’s been said that he can catch more waves than Solar Steve. Ben’s nature name at outdoor education is Chanterelle.

Neil Richardson | Garden Coordinator/Naturalist

Neil Richardson

Neil Richardson grew up in Santa Clara, California and is a graduate of Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Environmental Management and Protection/Environmental Education and Interpretation. He received training in project WET and Project Learning Tree and served as a Project Learning Tree coordinator at local schools. As an Environmental Education Program Designer he created curriculum for 5th grade students and taught in a variety of habitats. As a Program Coordinator with Wetlands on Wheels he worked in the field and classroom to provide hands - on activities about wetland ecosystems for 5th grade students. He has also worked at camp Galileo as an instructor and program director. He enjoys gardening, cycling and exploring remote places. He has a talent for building and fixing things from cars to computers. He loves riding motorcycles and bicycles and has ridden from Baja California to the Arctic Ocean. He is returning to San Mateo Outdoor Education for his 10th year. Through his work as the SMOE garden coordinator he has transformed the space into a rich educational environment.  Neil’s nature name at outdoor education is nEel.

Ziggy Bates | Naturalist/Village Leader

Ziggy Bates

Ziggy has worked as a Naturalist for three years before working as a Village Leader at San Mateo Outdoor Education. He has previously worked for Hidden Villa in Los Gatos and Exploring New Horizons in Loma Mar before returning to San Mateo Outdoor Education and he is excited to be teaching in the coastal rainforest and sharing his knowledge and passion with the students at this program. Ziggy believes that the best way to learn is through experience and play; he teaches natural history through stories, songs and exploration of the senses. He loves to introduce Next Generation Science Standards as well as social emotional skills to help the students under his care realize that they are a part of nature, not apart from nature, and that by working together can make this world a better place. When Ziggy is not exploring trails, he likes to travel, make artwork with various mediums, listen to podcasts and play music with his educational and inspirational band Dafunkus. Ziggy’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Jackalope.

Miguel Salazar | Health Care Specialist

Miguel Salazar

Miguel Salazar grew up in Pacifica CA and is a graduate of Palo Alto University with a BS in Psychology and Social Action.  He has worked as a service shop manager, repairing marine electronics on private yachts and commercial vessels. He also has experience working on solar/wind power systems and de-salinization plants for drinking water. He served in the Navy from 2000-2005 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and was deployed to the Persian Gulf. After volunteering to work with veterans in the Portland area, he was inspired to change his career. He volunteered for the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition, as a tutor at the College of San Mateo, and as a naturalist at Hidden Villa. He has traveled to Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. He likes long distance cycling and has ridden from Portland to Duluth. He also enjoys photography, sailing, reading, backpacking and music. As a Vallemar student, he attended San Mateo Outdoor Education in elementary school. He is returning to SMOE for his 5th year. Miguel’s nature name at outdoor education is Synergy.

Joshua Stacy | Naturalist/Village Leader

Joshua Stacy

Joshua grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and spent their summers in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland and Virginia. They are a graduate of Earlham College with a BA in Music. While growing up, they spent much of their free time exploring any green space and riparian sliver they could find within the urban landscape. They were mentored in wilderness awareness and tracking by their cousin and through their summer camp experiences. Their work as a naturalist started with an internship with San Joaquin Outdoor School which turned into a 15-year career of being both Naturalist and Program Director with Exploring New Horizons. They are an exceptional naturalist and through their many years in the field have mentored and inspired others in the understanding and love of the natural world. As an avid birder and photographer, Joshua has observed more than 700 species of birds and is able to identify birds by their calls. They participate in Sequoia Audubon Society events as well as other citizen science opportunities through eBird and iNaturalist. They are a through-hiker, completing over 20,000 miles on three continents including, the Pacific Crest Trail, The Continental Divide Trail, and the Appalachian Trail. They have also traversed Iceland and the Cordillera Blanca Range in the Andes of Peru. They have biked over 4,000 miles across the US, from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. Joshua has played the cello since the age of 4; touring and performing across the US as well as Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. They are particularly interested in adapting the cello to all genres of music. They are returning to SMOE for a 3rd year. It's been said that Joshua channels Yo Yo Ma. Joshua’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Bobcat.

Derek McGovern | Naturalist/Village LeaderDerek McGovern

Derek grew up in Walnut Creek, CA and is a graduate of UC Davis where he studied education. He holds a multiple subject teaching credential, a single subject life sciences teaching credential, an environmental education endorsement degree, as well as a Master in Education. He has a passion for teaching and has experience working with kids in various settings. He worked at Camp Galileo Innovation Camps for kids for six summers, leading outdoor team-building activities as well as teaching project-based science lessons. Derek has also coached soccer for over 10 years, coaching players aged four to fourteen. After receiving his teaching credential from UC Davis, he taught in a 6th grade Montessori classroom for three years, specializing in project-based learning units with real-world applications. He gained an appreciation for outdoor education and hands-on learning by volunteering as a high school cabin leader with Exploring New Horizons Outdoor School for multiple years. This past summer, he biked from Vancouver to San Francisco, and the two summers before that he worked as the Camp Manager for Coastal Camp at NatureBridge’s Golden Gate location in the Marin Headlands. He enjoys long distance trail running, boxing, playing and watching soccer, road and gravel biking, and playing the ukulele. He likes swimming in cool lakes and rivers, with his favorite spot being Hoyt Crossing on the Yuba River, right near Nevada City. He are returning to SMOE for a 3rd year. It’s been said that Derek is the vice president of the hot sauce club. Derek’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Tide.

Naturalists

 

Miriam Lucking | Naturalist

Miriam Lucking

Mimi grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a graduate of Mills College with a B.S. in Biology. While at Mills, she conducted field research on California ground squirrels, and also was part of the Mills Community Farm crew.  Mimi has been a summer camp coordinator and counselor for 5 years with the Jewish youth organization, Habonim Dror, at both Camp Miriam in British Columbia and Camp Gilboa in Los Angeles.  During her time there, she planned and facilitated social justice and community building programs for elementary through high school aged youth. For the last year, Mimi has worked for the Washington Conservation Corps controlling invasive plants and planting native plants to improve riparian habitats.  She is also certified as a wildland firefighter.  In her free time, Mimi enjoys bike riding, roller skating, taking pictures and seeing live music.  It has been said that she has superior skills driving a tractor. Mimi’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Salamander.

Cyrus Kayhan  | Naturalist

Cyrus Kayhan

Cyrus grew up in Pacifica, California and is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Environmental Studies. They have been a nanny, substitute teacher, lifeguard and swim instructor, as well as the Lead Instructor at Surf Camp Pacifica. While in Santa Barbara, Cyrus was a research assistant measuring greenhouse gas fluxes in a restored salt marsh and grassland area, in addition to being a board member for the Coastal Fund, which reviewed and approved grant proposals having to do with coastline conservation and access. They also interned in the Santa Cruz Island Reserve in the Channel Islands, compiling research facilitated by the Reserve to use in a trail guide and interacting with visiting school groups. At the Hoelle Culture and Environment Lab, Cyrus supported an ethnobotany project by researching edible, medicinal and useful plants in addition to participating in a field study program in Belize with Wildlands Studies, which focused on the connections and interactions between ecosystems and social systems.  They love to surf and are very involved with the non-profit, Queer Surf, in which they teach surfing in order to connect Queers to their bodies and the ocean, in an inclusive surf community that gets people engaged in marine science and coastal stewardship. In their spare time, Cyrus likes to bike, create pottery, play music, practice yoga and be near the ocean.  It has been said that they can stand up on a boogie board and do multiple 360’s! Cyrus’ nature name at Outdoor Education is Sculpin.

Kelly Greenberg | Naturalist

Ben Crooke

Kelly grew up in Redwood City, California and graduated from Chico State, majoring in Environmental Science. As a 5th Grader at North Star Academy, she came to San Mateo Outdoor Education and enjoyed it so much that she returned three times as a Cabin Leader while at Woodside High School! Kelly has run a basketball camp and led students in hiking, backpacking and kayaking trips. She is a raft guide on the American river, and is both a Pilates and yoga instructor.  As a self-described “live-in-the-moment person”, Kelly enjoys the outdoors, pottery, the San Francisco Giants, skiing, rafting, traveling, animals and spending time with friends and family.  It has been said that Kelly would run away to swim with the fish in a particularly secluded cove in Crete if given the opportunity. Kelly’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Canyon. 

Delaney Ronay | Naturalist

Kelly GreenbergDelaney grew up in El Portal, California, learning to swim in the Merced River at 9 months old!  They have attended both Chico and Humboldt State Universities, and more recently worked at the Nature Bridge Coastal Camp in Marin.  Since a young age, they have babysat and mentored younger kids and loved promoting kindness. During many world travels, Delaney has volunteered at a Kindergarten in Kathmandu, Nepal, worked with high school students in Naples, Italy and been an au pair in Barcelona, Spain.  Music is a big part of their life and they have played the ukulele since they were 12, and also enjoy writing songs and playing the guitar upside down. Delaney enjoys water coloring, swimming and sitting silently in trees. It has been said that they have survived the bite of a black widow spider and have an affinity for bees. Delaney’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Bee.

Eleanor Levinson-Muth | Naturalist

Eleanor Levinson-Muth

Eleanor grew up in San Francisco, California and graduated Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, with a major in History and a minor in Creative Writing. Eleanor worked at Fly Girl Farm in Pescadero from harvesting to farmers’ markets,  studied organic farming and food justice at Sun Tracker Farm, the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, and Øens Have Farm in Copenhagen, and interned with Poughkeepsie Mother’s Project doing outreach for mothers in low-income communities. For two years, they were a program assistant and counselor at Eden Village West Camp in Healdsburg, running programs for children on an organic farm. Eleanor has completed a solo traverse of the John Muir Trail, a 200 mile wilderness trail through the Sierra Nevada mountains. In their spare time, Eleanor likes reading, hiking, camping, hanging out on the beach or in the park, going for bike rides, running, and playing ultimate frisbee. They also like to dance, including lindy hop and contra, to make art and write, to play music and listen to friends playing music. Eleanor plays the piano and speaks conversational Mandarin. It has been said that they will write you a serious or funny poem on the spot if requested. Eleanor’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Equinox.

Loran Branch | Naturalist

Loran Branch

Loran grew up in Belmont, California and graduated from the California Polytechnic University in Pomona with a B.A. in Psychology.  Her time spent taking care of children as young as 3 months and as old as 15 inspired her to work with kids. Over the past 6 years, Loran has been a counselor, recreation leader and site lead for summer camps for the City of Belmont.  In addition they have been a counselor at Girls Scout camps and even founded a troop in Pomona. Loran spent the last two years as a paraeducator for the Redwood Shores-Belmont School District supporting students with special needs with both social and academic aspects in a one-on-one capacity in classrooms.  It has been said that they can improvise a one-person version of Cinderella or other fairy tales in any random location. Loran’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Storm.  

Gabe Petersen | Naturalist

Gabe Petersen

Gabe grew up in Santa Cruz, California and graduated from Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, with a B.A. in Mathematics and Sociology.  He has taught students at the elementary through college level in a variety of subjects, from leading Science and Engineering experiments at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz County and through his university’s Engineers Without Borders student chapter to teaching undergraduate Mathematics and Physics classes. Gabe has been a summer camp counselor at Optimist Volunteers for Youth (OVY) Camp in La Honda, and an outdoor educator at Exploring New Horizons at Pigeon Point Lighthouse and the Sempervirens site in Scotts Valley. Among his many other accomplishments are being a legal intern specializing in Civil Rights at the Blake Horwitz Law Firm in Chicago, completing the Chicago Marathon, and being the captain of his high school’s soccer team. He is fluent in French and proficient in Spanish, and can play the ukulele and some guitar.  Gabe’s hobbies include cooking with friends, dancing, surfing, hiking, and playing soccer.  He is passionate about social and environmental justice and community building.  It has been said that Gabe makes a mean peanut butter cheesecake. Gabe’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Albatross.

Katelyn de Geus | Naturalist

Katelyn de Geus

Katie grew up in Redwood City, California and has both an A.A. degree in Film Production from De Anza Community College and a B.A. in Cinema/T.V. Production from the California State University in Northridge.  She grew up rehabilitating injured wildlife and came to SMOE themselves as both a 5th Grader and more than a dozen times as a Cabin Leader.  For the past eleven years,  she has been a dedicated volunteer working with the unhoused and needy for Compassion Weekend.  Katie has been a Recreation Leader, Lead Summer Camp Counselor as well as an After School Teacher for both the Conejo Recreation & Park District and the City of Menlo Park. In addition, she has led artistic teams to write and edit scripts, direct actors, design sets, manage production budgets and direct films for CSUN Thesis Films.  While majoring in Film, Katie also studied astronomy, theoretical physics and astrophysics in college as well as being an assistant coach of the CSUN Archery Team. She speaks American Sign language, plays the ukulele and guitar, and is a singer/songwriter.  It has been said that they are an “outdoor swashbuckler”, an avid archer and fencer who loves the outdoors. Katie’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Eucalyptus.

Owen Carlson | Naturalist

Owen Carlson

Owen  grew up in Pasadena, California and is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz with a major in Environmental Studies. As a 5th Grader they attended Outdoor Science School in Malibu, California, and loved it so much, they came back as a Counselor in high school.  Also, during high school, Owen coached Splash Ball for children ages 5-10 at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.  He has been a social media intern and video editor in Santa Cruz for Roots & Routes International Collaborations, an organization that helps facilitate connections between people around the planet to learn directly from each other, emphasizing ancestral knowledge.  In their free time, Owen plays water polo and loves to play the guitar and write songs.  It has been said that they would love nothing more than to be the next Neil Young or Bob Dylan. Owen’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Possum.

Lily Tatusko | Naturalist

Lily Tatusko

Lily grew up in Mansfield, Massachusetts and is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Zoology.  She has studied Ecology in both the Ecuadorian Andes and Galapagos Islands, as well as participating in a live/work program in Costa Rica, specifically working with local communities, farmers, ecologists and the National Park Service.  For two years, Lily was a Natural History and Human Ecology Teaching Assistant at the University of Vermont, teaching first year university students about natural history, flora and fauna, geology and how to collect data and do research.  She has developed educational programs for engineering-based projects for all ages at the Echo Leahy Center in Vermont and has also taught horseback riding and equine care to college students.  For the past 5 years, Lily has worked in summer camps, as a nature camp counselor at the Mass Audubon Moose Hill Camp in Sharon, Massachusetts and as the Head of Arts & Crafts and Director of Residential Life at the Hosmer Point Summer Camp in Craftsbury, Vermont.   In her spare time, she likes to read, ride horses, swim and make crafts, such as crochet, tie-dye and jewelry making.  It has been said that Lily loves to look for mushrooms, but is afraid to eat them, and has completed a quest for the love of pickles. Lily’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Ladybug.

Jennifer Murphy | Naturalist

Jennifer Murphy

Jen grew up in Pacifica, California and is a graduate of San José State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Child and Adolescent Development.  As an elementary school student, Jen came to SMOE themselves as a 5th Grader and was so inspired, she returned as a Cabin Leader in high school and now as a Naturalist Intern. Jen has been the Assistant Director of San Jose State’s Environmental Resource Center, orchestrating their Sustainability Faire, which teaches attendees about sustainability and puts them in contact with dozens of organizations and vendors committed to sustainability. In addition, she was a Resident Advisor for SJSU’s University Housing Services, advocating for and supporting over 600 students. Jen was also the Lead Instructor at Camp Galileo in Burlingame teaching Art and supporting campers.  Since she was a 5th Grader, she has dreamed of working at SMOE.  It has been said that she is proof that dreams can come true! Jen’s nature name at Outdoor Education is Dune.

 

Allison Collins

Director, Outdoor Environmental Education

Email: acollins@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-9581

Jonathan Harris

Manager, Outdoor Education

Email: jharris@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 747-0414

Amanda Lee

Administrative Assistant II, Outdoor Education Information and Registration

Email: alee@smcoe.org

Phone: (650) 802-5360