Our Team

Board of Directors

The following serve as Board members. Board officers are:  President (Ilisa Goldman), Vice-President (Karin Robertson), Treasurer (Judie Lincer) and Secretary (Anne Fege).  Scroll down to see short bio-sketches of each.

  • Anne Fege
  • Chris Redfern
  • Diane Castañeda
  • Jonathan Appelbaum
  • Ilisa Goldman
  • Judie Lincer
  • Janice Swaisgood
  • Karin Robertson
  • Meredith Houle Vaughn
  • Su Scott
  • Niki Ahrens
  • Slader Buck (ex officio)
  • Leta Bender and Dan McKirnan (past Board members)

Board Committees

The Education Committee is chaired by Board member Su Scott. Other active members are Leta Bender, Jonathan Appelbaum, Judie Lincer, Anne Fege, Meredith Vaughn (San Diego State University),  Sandra LaBron (San Diego Coastkeeper), Ann Baldridge (Resource Conservation District), and Jess Norton (San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy).

Bio-Sketches of Board Members

Ilisa Goldman, RLA, MLA, ASLA. igoldman at rootedinplace.com Ilisa has spent over 16 years working in the field of Landscape Architecture and currently has her own practice in San Diego, Rooted In Place Landscape Architecture and Consulting. Embracing her passions for design and the environment, Ilisa’s works focuses on the needs of children, which includes education, mental and physical health, and age appropriate design. Ilisa is a local leader in the ‘Children and Nature’ movement, helping to educate the design community and raise awareness of the benefits of designing and developing outdoor spaces to enhance children’s nature experiences. Much of her practice is dedicated to helping communities improve and transform their neighborhood spaces by leading efforts to activate vacant lots into public spaces that reflected the community’s own vision.

Anne Fege, Ph.D., M.B.Aafege at sdchildrenandnature.org Anne’s professional accomplishments in natural resources management encompass biodiversity and habitat conservation, nature education, urban forestry, wildland fire ecology and education, wilderness management, and forestry research. Fege is Adjunct Professor of Biology at San Diego State University, retired Forest Supervisor of the Cleveland National Forest, and an active Girl Scout volunteer.   Fege expanded bio

Chris Redfern.  redfern at sandiegoaudubon.org Chris Redfern has been Executive Director of San Diego Audubon since 2006. Chris leads a team of ecologists, outdoor educators, and communications professionals who deliver innovative, award-winning programs in the areas of outdoor nature education, community-based habitat restoration, endangered species recovery, and citizen science. Chris has extensive experience collaborating with federal, state, city, and non-profit organizations to protect wildlife and restore local habitats. Chris served on the founding organizing committee of San Diego Children and Nature from 2009-2011. Chris also served on the Audubon California Board of Directors (2009 to 2016) where he led chapter capacity-building efforts and provided a grassroots perspective to strategic planning and development for the Audubon network at state and national levels.

Diane Castañeda. diane at wildcoast.net Diane is the Outreach Coordinator at WILDCOAST where the best (and most fun) part of her job is to engage at-risk students in exploring and learning about San Diego County’s Marine Protected Areas through stewardship activities and recreational activities like kayaking, tide pooling and surfing. She believes the more you learn, enjoy and appreciate your environment, the more you will want to protect it. Diane received a Bachelors Degree in Communications from San Diego State University and she is a Certified Interpretive Guide by the National Association for Interpretation. Diane is a mom to a very active and fearless three-year-old and loves to travel the world with her husband and daughter any chance they get. Their favorite outdoor activities include hiking, kayaking and swimming.

Janice Swaisgood.   janice at familyadventuresinnature.org   Janice is a teacher and the founder of Family Adventures in Nature.  She provides leadership and support to establish and maintain San Diego County families’ engagement in nature, and is working to recruit and foster the development of community-based groups, organize and publicize regular outings in nearby nature, maintain a calendar of events, and recruit families for outings through both casual contact and formal presentations about families and nature.

Jonathan Appelbaum, M.E.S.M. jappelbm at gmail.com Jonathan has worked with a number of environmentally-focused non-profit organizations throughout California including San Diego Canyonlands (SDCL), the Endangered Habitats Conservancy (EHC), the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), and Channel Islands Restoration (CIR).  During his tenure, Jonathan coordinated the field-based environmental education programs for CIR and SPAWN involving experiential learning through hands on habitat restoration on the Channel Islands and Pt. Reyes National Seashore.  Jonathan has also served as a UCCE-certified California Naturalist Training Instructor.  When not working with SDCL Jonathan serves on the San Diego Audubon Society’s (SDAS) Conservation Committee and I Love a Clean San Diego’s (ILACSD) Clean Committee and is an active volunteer with SDAS, ILACSD, and many other local organizations.

Judie Lincer, M.A.  judielincer at sdchildrenandnature.org Judie Lincer, M.S. Ed, has taught preschool to high school for over 20 years and has been an SDCaN Board Member for several years. She has worked as a Nature Coordinator, creating nature-based science lessons and guiding teachers around the county as to how they can use their schoolyards to take learning outdoors and have students involved in hands-on, engaging, memorable and inspirational learning. Judie also works at SD Audubon and leads hikes in nearby nature areas around San Diego for after-school programs and SD Audubon sanctuaries. Her passion is to touch the lives of youth with the wonders of being in nature and get them excited about enjoying nearby nature canyons and open spaces.

Karin Robertson. krobertson at sdchildrenandnature.org   Karin is retired after a career in applied physics as a scientist and program manager. She was fortunate to be born into a camping family, and has hiked and traveled throughout the western United States her whole life. Everyday nature was just that in Karin’s childhood, and she is committed to helping to provide that experience to all of San Diego’s children. Karin received a Fundraising and Development Certificate through UC San Diego Extension.

Meredith Houle Vaughn, Ph.D.  mhoule at sdsu.edu   Meredith is Associate Professor of Science Education at San Diego State University and Assistant Director of the Center for Research on Mathematics and Science Education.

Niki Ahrens.  nikiahrens at gmail.com   Niki is a certified California Naturalist and an interpretive guide intern with the Tecolote Nature Center. She consults as a qualified administrator with the Intercultural Development Inventory. Niki brings her experience as a public elementary school teacher and professional development coordinator to her work, and holds a Master’s in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington. Her older child’s nature preschool experience ignited thesis research on intersections among social justice and nature education. Niki especially loves family time exploring trails, gardening, reading, and yoga. She’s thrilled to be part of San Diego Children and Nature.

Su Scott, M.A. suscott6 at gmail.com   Su has taught Science for over 20 years and is currently a UCCE certified Calif Naturalist.  She is writes inquiry curriculum for the Field based Ecology Programs, school nature programs, and Middles school nature experiences.  She is the Program Coordinator for the Watershed Explorer Program, provides professional development for teachers in nature, and sits on the board of SDCaN and Friends of Daley Ranch.  She was recognized as 2012 San Diego Science Teacher of the Year and received the 2014 Partnership Award from San Diego Science Alliance.  She has presented at National, State, and Local Science and Nature conferences and was chair of the 2016 San Diego Science Education Conference.

Dan McKirnan.  Co-Leader for Health  mckirnan at yahoo.com  Dan is a board member of the Environmental Health Coalition.

Leta Bender, M.A.  letaandbob at gmail.com  Leta has 40 years of experience in developing curriculum, teaching environmental studies K-12 in both public and charter schools, organizing enrichment programs and field trips, and advising after-school clubs. She has California lifetime secondary and elementary credentials and has taught in grades K-12 as a science specialist.  Leta now volunteers as a coordinator of the Master Gardener School Garden Program and is a steward for the National Wildlife Foundation.

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