Outdoor School Staff

DSC08959 2PamRick 2014

All staff at Walker Creek Ranch are employees of the Marin County Office of Education and are carefully screened, background checked and certified in First Aid and CPR.  The school staff are professional educators whose top priority is the safety and well being of each individual student.  They are dedicated, positive individuals who know how to make learning hands-on, fun and inclusive.  Each is truly gifted in their abilities to teach young people about our connection to one another and the natural world.

Pam Gambonini: Outdoor School Clerk
Pam is a native Petaluman!  She has enjoyed the many clients that have made Walker Creek their home for the past 20 years.  She enjoys swimming, kayaking, dancing, and Lake Tahoe!


Hoot (Rick): Naturalist
Hoot grew up in Campbell California, and has been leading students at Walker Creek for longer than he can remember.  He loves telling stories, music, hiking, biking, and hanging out with his cat. 

Otter (Allie): Naturalist 
Allie hails from Southern California, a place of mighty oaks and little rain. In her college years, she dappled in Maine before returning to the golden state for her degree in Environmental Studies and Art History from Scripps College. At the ranch, Allie couldn't decide if her nature name identity was more of a river otter or sea otter. That is, not until one fateful day when she was creekside with a group of 20 students. On that foggy morning, everyone heard a splash and looked up to witness a river otter running through the shallow water, plunging into the creeks pools, and staring back at the group with playful curiosity. From then on, she knew. At the ranch, Allie's favorite naturalist moments are witnessing students catch dragonfly nymphs at Turtle Pond, and witnessing the students' proud expressions from the top of Walker Peak. In her free time, there is a 97.3% chance she is reading, writing, printmaking, or searching for a spot to swim in Tomales Bay. 

Birch (Kassie): Naturalist
Kassie was born in West Bend, Wisconsin. She earned a teaching credential and Elementary Ed. degree from Boston University in 2014. She loves the outdoors and has spent the past two summers leading camping and hiking trips in upstate New York. Her hobbies include hiking, writing, drawing, climbing trees, and roller blading. 

Sunflower (Kristine): Naturalist 
Kristine grew up in the small beach town of Dana Point before she adventured on to UC Santa Cruz, getting her degree in Environmental Studies. There she immersed herself in the study of natural history and fell in love with wild California. She enjoys yoga, hiking, reading, eating, dancing, adventure, all kinds of community, and chasing the sun. She can't wait to share nature with kids.

Popcorn (Kelly): Garden Naturalist
Popcorn was born a wee kernel in California and grew into a stalwart stalk in the corn country of Nebraska. Accustomed to heavy downpours, she visited her grandparents in the Bay throughout childhood and considers its watery haven her home. Previously, she attended the University of Oregon, where she majored in Environmental Studies and chose food systems transformation as her life’s work. She likes the way her agrarian journey sounds—Shadow Brook, Horton Road, Slide Ranch, Green Gulch—and she takes sonics seriously—as melodious seeds spill into the metal pan—with an MFA in Writing and Poetics in her pocket.

Cricket (Kaya): Naturalist 
Kaya grew up frolicking in the redwoods of Occidental where she fell in love with exploring in nature. She headed to the big city to attend college at UC Berkeley where she got a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies. After graduating she spent a year working with kids doing habitat restoration and teaching watershed science.  She spent her summers working at summer camps and can't wait to get to sing songs every week! She loves cooking, listening to podcasts, swimming, and dancing! 


Scrub (Sarah): Naturalist Intern
Sarah grew up in the East Bay where she spent much of her time hiking with family. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies and Education, and immersed herself in the Natural History of California. She has a special love for plants and birds, and loves sharing those experiences with people surrounding her. Sarah loves exploring, reading, cooking, and sitting under trees, and she can't wait to explore Walker Creek with lots of new people!     

Bear (Brett): Naturalist Intern
Brett hails from San Diego, where he grew up playing basketball, baseball and other sports, including boys lacrosse, which he has played and coached ever since! After receiving his B.A. and teaching credential from CSU Long Beach, he migrated back to San Diego, where he taught middle and high school history, as well as coached high school boys lacrosse, participated in weekly open mics and seasonal theater productions. His interests include history, philosophy, improvisation comedy, summer camp counseling, story telling, writing, stargazing and into the infinite. Brett would like to thank WCR for the opportunity to work in the world of outdoor education!

Basil (Amelia): Naturalist Intern
Amelia is from Los Altos, California and has recently graduated from UC Davis with degrees in Spanish and Sociology with an emphasis in Social Services. While in Davis she got involved with environmental education and sustainability, working on and directing the Whole Earth Festival. She loves knitting, podcasts, swimming, sunlight, stone fruit and hiking! 

Juniper (Eva):
Naturalist Intern
Eva grew up in Marin County not too far from the ranch, and she actually went to Walker Creek in middle school! She traveled north to a small town called Walla Walla (she promises it's a real place) in eastern Washington state where she attended Whitman College and earned her degree in Biology and Environmental Studies. Eva missed her California home though and is excited to be back and share its beauty with the students at Walker Creek! You can find Eva bird watching, looking for cool lichens, playing her guitar, or hiking and swimming! 

Lavender (Andie): Naturalist InternAndie grew up in Hudson, Ohio, and ventured out west to work on a trail crew in Marin County in high school. Since then, Andie has wanted to experience the west as much as possible and spent the past four years going to school at Willamette University in Oregon. While in Oregon, she majored in Environmental Science, led trips and coordinated Willamette's Outdoor Program, and explored the Pacific Northwest. Andie enjoys swimming in lakes, napping in hammocks, singing out of tune, and sharing her love for the outdoors. 

Paws (Jordan): Extra-Hire Naturalist 
Jordan grew up in a very warm place in the middle of California near two rivers. Since then, she has flowed to other rivers, to oceans, rainfall and has now arrived at creek and pond. She really enjoys swimming --  as well as just-picked fruit, movement and mindfulness, getting to know the piano, and connecting with nature.  She loves exploring her surroundings and learning from animals, plants, people, and places and has a background sharing this wonder in preschool classrooms and outdoor classrooms. She is so grateful to learn alongside youth and to land at Walker Creek.

Persimmon (Julia): Extra-Hire Naturalist Persimmon  hails from Southern California, a place of mighty oaks and rare rain. After graduating from Scripps College with a B.S. in Environmental Writing, Persimmon has been loving her time as a naturalist at the ranch. Many of her favorite naturalist moments involve polar bear plunges, garden explorations, and banana slug hikes in the enchanted forest. In her free time, she enjoys painting, writing, printmaking, and finding wildflowers. 

~ Walker Creek Ranch ~ 1700 Marshall Petaluma Rd. Petaluma, CA 94952 ~ 415.491.6600 ~
A program of the Marin County Office of Education
Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools