Association for Environmental & Outdoor education
AEOE strengthens environmental education in California by connecting providers, building professional expertise, and championing environmental literacy and outdoor learning.
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 email@example.com.
Members of AEOE's governance team at the 2023 spring board retreat at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch
Estrella Risinger (she/her), Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Board of Directors to expand AEOE's program offerings and educational opportunities, and strengthen environmental education across the state. She is a member of NAAEE's Affiliate Working Group and Co-Chair of the California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI). 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.
Jasjeet Dhanota (she/her), Communications and Relationships Manager, email@example.com
Jasjeet is an educator, storyteller, scientist, and avid explorer. Throughout her career, she's championed outdoor education as a means to promote sustainability and inspire a new generation of environmentally-conscious individuals. Her expertise lies in teaching the Next-Generation Science Standards (NGSS) while using culturally-relevant pedagogy to make the connection between science and our natural world clear and compelling. Her passion for environmental education extends beyond the classroom: she's actively engaged in wildlife research and science journalism, connecting with communities through stories that illustrate the profound connection between people and the environment. She strives for equitable outreach and inclusivity, ensuring that environmental education reaches every corner of our society. This work is close to her heart, as she is a first-generation Californian born to immigrant parents from Punjab. There’s something so special about walking the line between these two worlds, both belonging to and also not quite fully belonging in either one. Time spent outdoors reminds her that she belongs first and foremost to this planet. An advocate for slow living, she enjoys poking around her garden, taking meandering walks with her dog, and chatting with loved ones over hot cups of chai. Jasjeet joined AEOE's team in 2023.
AEOE's Board members are volunteers. These dedicated leaders ensure that AEOE meets all fiscal and legal responsibilities while steering the strategy and development of the organization.
Ryan Mayeda (he/him), President & Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
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 and museum interpreter. He still misses going on research dives in the kelp forests of Northern California, but couldn’t be happier in his role as the Director of Education with I Love A Clean San Diego. He has also enjoyed his time as the former AEOE Program Leaders Group Coordinator and serving on the Board for the last 6 years. He loves working in this field to inspire relationship building with nature and the environment that surrounds us, and now shares this passion of the outdoors with his two young children!
Andrew Boyd-Goodrich (he/him), Vice President, 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 first joined the AEOE board in 2019, and has previously served as Treasurer; he currently co-chairs the Communications committee, and sits on the Executive and Finance committees. Andrew likes spending time with family and friends, old movies, playing board games, arcane philosophical arguments, and Mexican food.
Katie Havens (she/her), Treasurer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Havens is happiest when outside running, hiking, camping, rock climbing, or doing yoga. She joined the AEOE board in 2022 as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Co-Chair. She currently serves as the California Director for SOURCE, a start-up technology company that created a hydropanel that creates clean, sustainable drinking water from sunlight and air. She has held various fundraising and development roles at nonprofits and in politics before getting her MBA at Boston University and transitioning into a role in the sustainability and technology sector. She holds a BA in Political Science from Sonoma State University and was born and raised in San Diego.
Kori Donley (she/her), Secretary, email@example.com
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. She has been honored to serve as the Director of School Programs at Westminster Woods, a member of the Professional Development Committee for the Sonoma EE Collaborative, and a contributor to the Green Schoolyards Initiative and the Grow Outside Toolkit for Social Emotional Learning. Kori currently teaches 6th-grade math and science at an International Baccalaureate School in Bend, Oregon, engaging them in outdoor learning regularly. She continues to support California students by providing leadership, training, resources, and collaboration opportunities for education professionals. Any time she spends time outdoors, it reinforces her motivation for engaging in this essential work. Her adventure partners include her husband, Eric, and dogs, Marlow and Talula.
Alicia De Toro (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Allison Carss (she/her), email@example.com
Allison cares deeply about changing the trajectory of children's lives as the Partnership Development Coordinator at Bezos Academy, a nonprofit that is launching high quality, tuition free, Montessori inspired preschools in underserved communities across the US. When Allison is not recruiting educators, she spends her time exploring the beautiful parks and trails in Marin County with her husband, who is a conservation wildlife and landscape photographer. Allison was inspired to join AEOE given her experiences in school as a camper and cabin leader at YMCA Jones Gulch, and is impressed by the rich programmatic offerings for outdoor education in California. Her sister was a Naturalist Educator at YMCA Jones Gulch in La Honda & NatureBridge in the Marin Headlands. Allison is welcoming her first child soon and looks forward to showing him how to care for and conserve all the beautiful outdoor places and spaces California has to offer. Allison joined the board in 2022 and is Co-Chair of the Finance Committee.
Brandy Lively (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Brandy loves to hike, backpack, kayak, and travel. She has worked as a naturalist, outdoor school instructor, program coordinator, and camp director. Brandy has her B.S. in Environmental Science and M.A. in Recreation Administration. She and her family live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains where she now runs her own business as a financial coach for educators. She is excited to be on the Board and be able to support the outdoor education field. Brandy joined the board in 2023 and is the Co-Chair of the Conferences & Awards Committee.
Corinne Calhoun, email@example.com
*Bio coming soon
Danny Tobin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny is thrilled to have joined the AEOE Board in 2023. As a lifetime advocate of the outdoors and youth development, Danny has been an Outdoor Educator, a teacher, a summer camp Director, and is currently the Assistant Director for an afterschool enrichment program. Danny is an active member in professional summer camp organizations such as the American Camp Association as an Accreditation Visitor and the Western Association of Independent Camps as an Individual Member. Danny enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, and exploring the outdoors with his wife and their 2 young children. Danny looks forward to supporting AEOE’s mission in 2023 and beyond.
Diana Rohini LaVigne (she/her/ella), email@example.com
With 25+ years of journalism/communications experience, Diana Rohini was the Chief Communications Officer for the health department, served as ED for several non-profit organizations, and held corporate leadership positions. With a BA from Harvard University (Psychology) and MA from Hebrew University(Theology), she has written 500+ articles. She's received several awards for her work, including the Distinguished Service Award by the California Legislature Assembly, Certificate of Recognition by the California State Senate, and Event Chair of the Year Award. Additionally, she was the co-host for a top Boston arts cable show and host of a Bay Area cable show on bikes. She lived in the Middle East (Israel) and Africa (Zaire) and traveled extensively in Antarctica, Australia, Asia, and Europe. She has been a speaker and emcee for hundreds of events. In her spare time, she is the chapter chair of the South Asian Journalists Association Bay Area, California Naturalist Planning Committee, and leads efforts to get youth and BIPOC families into nature. Diana Rohini joined AEOE's board in 2022. Socials: @DianaRohini
Lizz Atwood (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org (on leave)
Lizz is a site manager for a before and after school program in San Luis Obispo. Previously, she worked at Camp KEEP in San Luis Obispo, providing environmental education to students from SLO and Kern counties. Lizz has also 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 under-appreciated) 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 and is the current Co-Chair of the Conferences & Awards Committee.
Molly Schnur-Salimbene (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly is originally from metro-Detroit, Michigan, where she grew up on 30 acres of forest swampland and developed a love of and connection to the outdoors. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Biology and Zoology from Michigan State University. She served two terms with the AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards Project in Humboldt County and worked for the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife in Fisheries Education before joining the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust as Community Programs Director in 2015. Molly currently serves as the Director of Programs Administration at the River Parkway Trust, where she focuses on new program design and implementation and staff development. Molly joined the board in 2023.
Nick Willford (he/him), email@example.com
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 Committee.
Rosanna Ruiz (she/her), firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosanna is an experienced practitioner well-versed in the areas of environmental education, conservation, and program development. She began her journey in environmental education as a naturalist, a stepping stone that ultimately led to a long-time career in land conservation where she directed place-based education and outreach programs. For the past decade she has served at the college level and is currently faculty at CSU Fresno. Ro is also an instructor for the UC California Naturalist certification course; a facilitator for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Project WILD programs; a Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association of Interpretation; faculty for The Morpho Institute for Amazon Conservation; and has Environmental Educator Certification through AEOE. She completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at CSU Fresno where her research focused on the Science of Awe and its transformative impact on outdoor field-based experiences for both educators and their students. Through this lens she continues to develop engaging outdoor learning experiences that allow participants to make meaningful connections with natural habitats and discover more about themselves in the process. Rosanna joined AEOE's board in 2023.
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 (revised in the spring of 2023)