Staff 2017-2018

Dan “Tan Oak” Randrup, Director  
Dan was raised in the San Joaquin Valley and is a fifth generation Californian.  His Great-Great-Grandfather came to the Golden State in 1850. He graduated from Humboldt State University and received his teaching credentials from Fresno State and his Administrative Credentials from Stanislaus State.  This is his 32nd year in education.  He enjoys the outdoors and traveling to places (foreign and domestic) he has always wanted to see.

Allison "Sorrel" Collins
Allison is so excited to return to her favorite place on earth, San Joaquin Outdoor Education.  A naturalist at SJOE from 2008-2011, Allison spent the last six years gathering as much experience as possible to be the best outdoor school principal she can be.  She is a native of Monterey County, California and spends her free time exploring YMCA Camp Jones Gulch with her husband and her son, whose nature name is "Bug."
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Josie "Monarch" Fredericksen
Evening Director & Senior Naturalist

Josie grew up on a small hobby farm in Wisconsin that hosted everything from bees, to horses, to lizards, to monarchs in bug boxes. At home, she developed her love for the environment and learned about the healing powers of nature. She then went on to graduate from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a degree in Social Work. Throughout college, she cultivated her passion for social justice through her work on an urban farm, at an in-home hospice care program, and in early childhood development for children who have autism. After college, she realized she loved people as much as she loved the earth and started pursuing jobs in education. Josie worked as an environmental teacher in Costa Rica and facilitated intervention programs in an under resourced high school in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she loves to read, go camping, and cook vegetarian cuisine. She is elated to be working at SJOE this year and to have the opportunity to empower students to be curious about the world they live in.

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Eva "Nebula" Mitchell
Evening Director & Senior Naturalist
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Eva spent much of her childhood playing outdoors and exploring wild places both near and far. From the worms in her family’s garden to the painted turtles of northern lakes, she felt a deep bond to all of the creatures she encountered as well as a relentless curiousity about the natural world. In her schooling, Eva discovered her passions within the intersections of racial justice and environmentalism; she recently graduated from St. Olaf College with degrees in Environmental Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, and American Studies. It was there that Eva solidified her love for environmental education, where she co-founded a volunteer organization to bring outdoor science lessons to local elementary schools. She spent a season in Yosemite National Park on the Interpretive Ranger team in Tuolumne Meadows as well as a summer as a Neighborhood Naturalist through Minneapolis' Parks and Recreation. In these positions, as well as working as a nanny, camp counselor, and classroom assistant, Eva has treasured her time spent with kids of all ages. She is so excited to be back for a second year in SJOE's redwoods and to share many more outdoor adventures with students! When she isn’t on trail, Eva loves to cook and eat good foods, play board games, and explore new places.

Louisa "Nejma" Abada
Senior Naturalist
Louisa grew up in the New York City suburb of Montclair, NJ with a view of the city skyline from her bedroom and a lively deciduous forest in her backyard. Her childhood was spent exploring the woods around her house and reading and writing in the Magnolia tree outside of it. Her love of the outdoors grew every summer while she lived in the nearby Catskill Mountains, working as an outdoor trip leader. Louisa attended Georgetown University where she studied Literature, Creative Writing, and Arabic, and she spent much of her free time discovering the nearby mountains and trails. When not rooting around in the woods, she was passionately involved in various activist efforts in support of labor rights and economic and environmental justice. She has worked various jobs, including as a kayak guide, a progressive researcher, a foreclosure prevention paralegal, a coordinator for an outdoor education program focused on increasing accessibility of nature to New York City youth, and an educator at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Her curiosity, love for learning, and passion for social justice have taken her to many places around the world, including her ancestral mountain village home in Algeria. When not teaching, Louisa loves reading, cooking, backpacking, and exploring! She is looking forward to another year of learning from and with students, the redwoods, and all the creatures lucky enough to call them their home!
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Steve "Octopus" Suttle
Health Clerk & Senior Naturalist
Stephen grew up in Laguna Niguel, California where he spent most of his time at the beach swimming in the ocean or wandering the tide pools. He attended Santa Clara University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2016. While in college, Stephen developed a passion for ecology and conservation. Before coming to work as a naturalist, Stephen traveled to Botswana where he was able to work on a nature reserve, working with rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and many other animals. Stephen enjoys climbing, camping, reading, and cooking. Stephen is excited to share his love of nature with students and live in the amazing redwood forest.
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John "Night Owl" Cao
Returning Naturalist
John grew up in Orange County in Southern California. He attended California State University, Long Beach, where he studied biology. During that time, he fell in love with nature and the science behind it.  He was the President of the Outdoor Club on campus and also taught rock climbing on campus.  He enjoys exploring different ecosystems including mountains, forests, and deserts. John also loves to travel and has been to nine different countries, and he hopes to be visiting more.  Before starting at SJOE, John spent his summer working as an intern with the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado.  He loves to spend his free time backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, and doing other outdoor sports.  John is excited to be teaching students about the outdoors and hopes to make them fall in love with nature.

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Becky "Grey Whale" Townsend
Returning Naturalist
Becky grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, climbing trees and traipsing through cow pastures behind her house. Although she occasionally wished she was at the mall during her father’s backroad desert explorations on family car trips, Becky was won over to nature by family camping, backpacking and environmental volunteering.  She now sees the natural world as a vital component to formation: socially, physically, spiritually, and intellectually.  Becky studied English Literature and Art Studio at the University of California Davis and recently completed a Master’s degree in Divinity at Louisville Seminary.  At Louisville, she was Environmental Sustainability Coordinator and worked on local environmental issues which closely affected people of color.  When Becky learned about the friendly behaviors and enormous brains of Grey Whales, she was smitten, so the nature name came easily.  She has worked with children for many years including as an art teacher and is tail-slapping with joy to live in the Redwoods among the naturalist community and to get to practice the close observation of nature with fifth and sixth graders.

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Pierce "Willow"Bradner

Pierce grew up in Richmond, VA with a neighborhood full of small creeks, lots of insects, and friends to explore them with. As a child she developed a love for being active outside. She was always either playing soccer or rock hopping on the James River. Every summer she attended a small all girls’ camp in the Appalachian Mountains where her appreciation for nature grew even stronger. She went to college at George Mason University in Virginia where she studied Neuroscience. Here she developed a better understanding of nature’s importance to positive mental health and development. Her life was altered when she spent one summer during college backpacking on the John Muir Trail. It was the first time she had been backpacking and the first time she had been to California and she was blown away. She loves to travel and went on a solo backpacking trip around Europe. She worked with a family in Sweden, at a bed and breakfast in Italy, and on an organic farm in Austria. After college she packed up her things and drove across the country to San Jose to work with Elementary school students in an under-resourced school. She tutored third graders that were struggling in reading and taught fifth graders in the after school program. She spent last summer as an instructor at a summer adventure day camp and took kids ages 6-13 rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiking. She loves exploring new places, long hikes, the mountains, backpacking, coffee, and running. Pierce is incredibly excited to spend this year in the redwood forest and hopes to inspire kids to create their own curiosity and understanding of nature.

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Holly "Squid" Clegg

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Holly grew up on a hobby farm in the redwood forest with easy access to the ocean. With a dog as an adventure partner, Holly spent her time exploring the mountains around her home, playing with her family’s animals and hiking up creeks. She quickly developed a love of nature and a desire to protect our planet. While studying at Humboldt State University, Holly’s curiosity moved from the land to the sea. Apart from attending classes, Holly spent her time hiking, cooking, and tide pooling. Holly also worked as a field assistant, collecting and analyzing data in the intertidal zone within Northern California marine protected areas. Holly graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in December 2016. She spent last spring as a naturalist at the Coastal Institute at Camp Ocean Pines, and summer as the off site program coordinator at Camp Ocean Pines, running hiking, tidepooling and kayaking trips for campers. Holly loves to spend her free time exercising, hiking, reading and drinking coffee. Holly is so glad to live amongst the redwoods once again and looks forward to sharing them with her students.
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Corey "Canine" Kaye

Corey is a first year Naturalist Intern from Philadelphia, PA.  He graduated from Penn State with a degree in Human Development and is an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps alum. Corey has since pursued in Outdoor Industry in many forms including time as a white water guide on the Nantahala River in North Carolina, kayak touring as an interpretive field guide in the Florida Everglades and teaching Outdoor Education and working with children with special needs in Ohio. Canine is most excited for spending peaceful and inspiring moments in the sprawling Redwoods as he learns more about them.

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Jace "Sundog" Lilly 
Jace was raised in Woodland, California where he spent every summer as a camper at the Yolo County YMCA. He attended the YMCA summer camp and after school program for seven years, after which he he did some volunteer work for them in middle school and high school. After graduating high school, Jace moved to Chico, California to attend Butte College. During his summers in college, Jace would travel back to Woodland in order to be a camp counselor at the YMCA, having the desire to provide the same fun summer experiences for others that he received as a child. After his time at Butte, Jace transferred to California State University, Chico to study recreation administration, with an emphasis in park and natural resource management. During his time at Chico State, Jace took advantage of many different volunteer opportunities, such as assisting in the removal of invasive species, park and creek cleanups, and environmental festivals. While many of Jace's classmates were looking to pursue a future in the Forest Service or Army Corps of Engineers, Jace wanted to combine his love for the outdoors with his passion for camp, and he thought, what better way to do that than at outdoor school? In Jace's free time he enjoys listening to music, attending concerts, playing disc golf, and making friendship bracelets.
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Michelle "Montaña" Peres
Michelle grew up in the San Joaquin Valley area, where she spent her time at local shows and star gazing in the vineyards with friends. Slowly exposing herself to the beauty of the great outdoors, she decided to follow her curiosity. She graduated from Fresno State with a B.S in Recreation Administration, emphasis in Adventure Recreation and Tourism. Before joining the SJOE team, Michelle was teaching in various places. Helping Chicago inner city students rock climb, joining folks on canoe trips in Michigan, and hiking in Malibu. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys rock climbing, surfing, movies, and spending time in a hammock with a good book. Michelle is looking forward to spending time hiking through the redwoods and tide pooling with the kiddos! She is stoked to share this experience with the San Joaquin Valley students.  

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Ryan "Boa" Siless

Ryan grew up in upstate New York, chasing frogs through bogs in the backyard or with his nose in an animal encyclopedia. His mother was an elementary teacher and his father taught band. That love for the classroom and music was passed on. His childhood love for wildlife though spurred him on to study conservation biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. There he fell in love with working in the field and afterwards took a position with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. That being temporary he found himself looking for a destination and moved to Lake Arrowhead, California and has since been working in outdoor education around the state. Now he’s excited to continue the adventure in the redwoods playing campfire songs and teaching kids about salamanders for a living.

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