Association for Environmental & Outdoor education
Our mission is to advance the impact of environmental and outdoor education in California
AEOE is governed by the Board of Directors and the Executive Director. Please find our Board and Staff contact information below. Any general queries should be directed to our Executive Director, Estrella Risinger: firstname.lastname@example.org.
AEOE governance team at the 2019 California Statewide Conference at Westminster Woods
Estrella Risinger (she/her), Executive Director, email@example.com
After 64 years as a solely volunteer-run organization, in January 2019, AEOE hired Estrella Risinger (she/her/hers) as the first Executive Director of AEOE. Estrella partners with the AEOE Board of Directors to expand our program offerings and educational opportunities, and increase the impact of environmental education within our state. Estrella started her career in the classroom, with summers spent exploring California and connecting youth to the natural world as an outdoor educator. Most recently, she served as the National Education Manager at NatureBridge, the largest education partner of the National Park Service. As the lead of the Residential Environmental Education Partnership on SEL, Estrella helped to launch the website Grow-outside.org, a Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit for Residential Environmental Learning Centers. She lives in Oakland, CA, where she is the mother of two active children who love being outside almost as much as she does.
Gabe Germanow, Webmaster & Membership Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabe (he/him/his) is a Naturalist at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School in Sonora and provides web support to AEOE part-time. He has been a member of AEOE since 2012, and has been the Webmaster since 2015. Gabe is an avid skier and hiker, and he loves carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
AEOE's Board consists of 9-19 directors. All Board members are volunteers. These dedicated leaders ensure that AEOE meets all fiscal and legal responsibilities while steering the development of the organization.
Ryan Mayeda (he/him), President & Chair, email@example.com
Ryan studied marine biology at UC Santa Cruz, but his career path took a turn into the field of education as a park ranger, naturalist, museum interpreter, and then as an outdoor education director. He still misses going on research dives in the kelp forests of Northern California, but is enjoying his current roles as Forest School Teacher at Nature School LA and Program Facilitator at Fulcrum Adventures. He also enjoyed his time as the Program Leaders Group (aka EOSM) Coordinator and a Member at Large on the AEOE Board before becoming the President & Chair. He loves working in this field, providing life-changing experiences to youth like he received when he was in 6th grade, and now exploring the outdoors with his young son!
Tracey Weiss (she/her), Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracey is an executive leader that has worked with nonprofit organizations for the past 20 years. Currently she is the Director of Administration at Elkhorn Slough Foundation. From the forests to the sea, Tracey builds partnerships and vision to strengthen the field. Tracey has served on the AEOE Board of Directors since 2010. Serving as the Board Vice President, she is passionate about building AEOE’s organizational capacity and ensuring that all California’s students have the opportunity to participate in residential environmental education. When Tracey is not advocating to get outside she is at home with her wife and kids in Santa Cruz, CA.
Andrew Boyd-Goodrich (he/him), Treasurer, email@example.com
Andrew’s life mission is to make millions of people happy! He does that in his professional life as the Executive Director of Camp Ocean Pines, along the Central Coast in Cambria. Previously, Andrew worked for the YMCA of San Francisco at the Camp Jones Gulch and Point Bonita sites. He likes spending time with family and friends, old movies, arcane philosophical arguments, and Mexican food.
Kori Donley (she/her), Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kori Donley has happily devoted her life to being an educator and leader in Environmental and Outdoor Education. She has explored with students across the globe, from the Yukon to Patagonia and New Zealand to China. During her graduate studies in Natural Resources and Society, Kori partnered with climate scientists at the University of Idaho to design place-based climate change curriculum and lead professional development for high school teachers. From her experience as a contributor to the Grow-Outside Toolkit for Social Emotional Learning, she has led workshops throughout California to help educators and program leaders infuse SEL into every aspect of their programs. Previously serving as the Director of School Programs at Westminster Woods, and a member of the PD committee for the Sonoma EE Collaborative, Kori is now the 6th Grade Math & Science Teacher at Seven Peaks School in Bend, Oregon. Any time she spends time in the outdoors, it reinforces her motivation for engaging in this essential work. Her adventure partners include her husband, Eric, and dog, Marlow.
Alicia De Toro (she/her), email@example.com
Alicia’s interest in the environment and outdoor education began as a student at De Anza College, where she now teaches. As a student, outdoor learning was appealing to Alicia and became a pertinent part of her educational experiences. Fieldwork was a large part of her undergraduate and graduate studies, whether in the wilderness or urban spaces. After returning to De Anza to teach Environmental Science and Studies, Alicia decided to pursue a doctorate in education focusing on organization and leadership. The knowledge gained from this program opened her eyes to the importance of equity and the environment. She incorporates into her teachings at the college to encourage her students to see the interconnectedness of the environment, society, and economy.
Angie Kemsley (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Angie is a professional scientist who specializes in addressing climate change through natural solutions, with an emphasis on the engagement of local communities in the conservation of their own local areas. Angie leads blue carbon ecosystem restoration, carbon sequestration studies, and climate action planning for an international non-profit called WILDCOAST, based out of San Diego. Angie has a diverse professional background ranging from director of a residential environmental school to organizing community-based conservation initiatives in Mexico with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Institute for Conservation Research. Angie has served on the AEOE board since 2013 and currently serves as the Conferences Chair.
Blanca Hernández (she/her), email@example.com
Blanca Hernández (she/her/hers), Director of Programs & Partnerships at YES Nature to Neighborhoods, uses a strengths-based and healing-centered engagement approach to develop culturally responsive nature-based programs that cultivate the leadership of BIPOC youth and adults. Blanca has a B.A. from the University of San Diego and is a graduate of CompassPoint’s Next Generation Leaders of Color. She has been a panelist and presenter at various convenings including the Children & Nature Network, the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE), and with outdoor and EE partners on the importance of creating equitable and inclusive outdoor programs and organizational practices. She serves on Healthy Richmond’s and ChangeScale's Steering Committees, and on the board of directors of TOGETHER Bay Area and AEOE. Her self-care practices include painting, writing, and jogging with her dog, Bo. Blanca joined the board in 2020 and serves as the Awards Chair.
Katie Andersen (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Andersen is an Outdoor Education Specialist at Cuyamaca Outdoor School and the 2019 Southern California Environmental Educator of the Year. She began volunteering with AEOE in 2012 as the Southern Council Secretary, and served as Board Secretary between 2014-2021. Katie is a native San Diegan, but spent her college years in Northern California at Sonoma State University where she earned a BA in Environmental Studies before returning home to work on her teaching credential at San Diego State. When she's not busy with AEOE, Katie can be found serving with the California School Employees Association (CSEA). She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their two dogs camping, rock climbing, and spending time in nature. Katie currently serves as Co-Chair of the Professional Development/Program Leaders Committee.
Kimberly Waite (she/her), email@example.com
Kimi Waite is a social justice educator-explorer and is passionate about inspiring and leading students and teachers to take local action for global change. A global educator, her professional K-12 teaching career spans three countries. As a teacher leader for the California Global Education Project, she presents and shares best practices with educators throughout California. She is a 2019 Environmental Education 30 Under 30, awarded by the North American Association for Environmental Education. She is involved with statewide policy initiatives, and serves on the University of California-California State University Environmental and Climate Literacy Project Summit steering committee, and the in-service sub-committee. Kimi is the Team Leader of EcoBlitz, an interdisciplinary environmental education & community science program created by a team of California based National Geographic Explorers and National Geographic Certified Educators. Kimi joined AEOE's board in 2020.
Lizz Atwood (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Lizz works at Camp KEEP in San Luis Obispo and provides environmental education to students from SLO and Kern counties. Previously, she worked in Special Education, as well as working for YMCA programs, Girl Scouts camp, and Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School. Her passion for outdoor education seems to grow every year and she looks forward to supporting the field as a graduate of AEOE's Environmental Educator Certification Program. When Lizz isn't leading hikes or teaching students, she enjoys time with her family, tabletop games, and adventures with her dog, Proton. Lizz joined AEOE's board in 2021.
Mindy Schwartz (she/her), email@example.com
Mindy Schwartz currently serves as the Education Director at the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach, where she develops programs, trains staff, and seeks out innovative ways to collaborate with community stakeholders. Mindy got her start as an environmental educator on the east coast, working at a variety of zoos, outdoor schools, and nature centers before settling into a Masters program at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. It was here that Mindy discovered classes in nonprofit management and her appreciation for the administrative (and often underappreciated) side of environmental education. When not teaching, scheduling, or collaborating, Mindy can be found swing dancing, photographing, and parenting to her 2 young sons. Mindy joined AEOE's board in 2021.
Nick Willford (he/him), firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick has been passionate for the outdoors since attending summer camp as a kid. That passion turned into a career working at residential camps across California. Currently he is a Senior Program Director at an Outdoor Science School in Santa Cruz, California. He enjoys his role in connecting Bay Area youth to nature and facilitating new ways to engage classrooms outdoors. Nick joined AEOE's board in 2021 and serves as Co-Chair of the Professional Development/Program Leaders Committee.
Reed Schneider (he/him), email@example.com
Reed has worked in many corners of the field from naturalist and educator, to cook staff, as well as administration. Most recently, he was the Education Director for NatureBridge in Yosemite. Reed works to expand AEOE’s capacity to support and promote quality environment and outdoor education in our state. He lives in Mariposa California with his wife and two boys. Reed joined AEOE's board in 2011 and served as AEOE's Board President & Chair from 2012 to 2021.
Sarah Foglesong (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah currently works as the Program Manager at Pathfinder Ranch and is a passionate educator and advocate for early childhood education and environmental education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Education and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from Prescott College. Sarah loves providing educators with the training, tools, and support they need to bring nature-based learning into their classrooms as well as in finding ways to bring environmental education to young children and their families in diverse settings and circumstances. Sarah presently serves as AEOE's Membership & Outreach Chair. She joined AEOE's board in 2019.
One way to get involved and to determine if board service might be for you is to join one of our active committees. Please reach out to Ryan at email@example.com if you have skills and interests to contribute one of these areas:
AEOE's Bylaws can be accessed here (note: they were recently revised in 2020)