Tara Fuad, Executive Director
Tara joined San Diego Children in Nature (SDCaN) in 2021 and is serving as SDCaN’s first Executive Director. In this capacity, in partnership with SDCaN’s Board of Directors, Tara collaborates with school districts, recreation centers, libraries, other non-profits and families to increase meaningful outdoor experiences for youth. Prior to joining SDCaN, Tara served as Education Director at Nature Collective (formerly San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy) where she helped establish a robust multi-year environmental education program for the Escondido Union School District. Tara has dedicated her entire career to environmental education beginning as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa where she engaged community leaders in reforestation projects. Additionally, Tara serves as the Informal Science Director for California Association of Science Educators.
Debi Iannizzotto, Program Specialist/Trainer
After serving in an advisory role for San Diego Children and Nature since 2021, Debi joined SDCaN’s team in early 2023. An experienced educator, outdoor enthusiast, and nature journaler, Debi leads our popular nature journaling club and supports and helps facilitate teacher workshops. During her tenure as a classroom teacher, Debi was always committed to providing outdoor experiences for her students. As a Trainer for SDCaN, Debi is well equipped to inspire teachers to make connections on how to use outdoor/schoolyard learning experiences to support multi-curricular classroom demands. Debi holds a multi-subject teaching credential from the University of Colorado, and an MA in Teaching Inquiry from Miami University.
Board of Directors
Karin Robertson, President
After retiring from a successful career in applied physics as a scientist and program manager, Karin began volunteering with San Diego Children Nature. It was a natural pivot that combined her leadership and fundraising skills with her love of nature. Karin was born into a family that enjoyed camping and hiking, making nature an everyday part of her childhood. Because Karin understands that not everyone is as fortunate, she is committed to helping to provide access to nature and the outdoors to all of San Diego’s children. Karin holds a Fundraising and Development Certificate from UC San Diego Extension.
Debra Weiner, Treasurer
After a successful career in finance and accounting, Debra became actively engaged in her community, serving as a volunteer with an organization focusing on food security and joining the Board of SDCaN as Treasurer. When Debra moved to San Diego from Washington DC in 1995, Debra quickly embraced SoCal’s lifestyle of spending time outdoors and in nature 365 days of the year. When asked to join SDCaN as treasurer, her background in finance and love of nature made her a perfect fit. She enjoys year-round recreational biking, hiking, and beach walks. In addition to serving as Treasurer, Debra coordinates SDCaN’s popular Check Out Nature Backpack Program.
Cynde Lane, Secretary
Cynde dedicated her career to the wellbeing of children working as a pediatrician for 32 years. Understanding the value of spending time outdoors, Cynde also dedicated much of her time as a consultant for Girls Scouts and serving as a troop leader. As a retired pediatrician, she continues to support the wellbeing of children by securing funds for school gardening projects at her local elementary school. Cynde is passionate about the important health, educational, and developmental benefits of outdoor time and nature experiences in childhood, and is available for public and professional educational presentations on these topics.
Judy is an experienced educator and naturalist for the San Diego Audubon Society. She holds a BA in psychology and after nearly a decade of teaching in the secondary schools as a math teacher she found her passion for nature through the Wilderness Awareness School program in western Washington. She is passionate about teaching others about the wonder and wealth that nature endows upon us. She loves to go hiking, camping, and backpacking with her young son and they are both avid birders. For Judy, the more time outside…the better.
Judie worked as a classroom teacher in grades preschool-high school and is currently a Naturalist Educator and active member of SDCaN. She teaches nature education with a focus on empowering teachers to use the outdoors to engage children in all disciplines to help develop an appreciation and understanding of the natural environment. Judie inspires others to connect to nature by leading school groups for the San Diego Audubon Society. These field experiences take children outdoors and into nearby nature spaces for exploration, learning and fun! Judie is a California native plant enthusiast, understands the benefits of nature, and has turned her backyard into a wildlife sanctuary by converting her swimming pool into a pond.
Mary has been connecting children with nature as an environmental educator for more than 25 years. As Nature Studies Instructor at Innovations Academy, Mary uses inquiry-based learning techniques to introduce children to the natural world and to excite them about the wonders of nature. She has created and implemented curricula as an educator at the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Earth Discovery Institute, EarthLab, Friends of Rose Canyon, Tecolote Nature Center, and other nonprofit organizations and nature centers throughout San Diego and Wisconsin. Mary is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, and is a published writer and photographer currently working on a children’s book series.
Shelley Glenn Lee
Shelley is a San Diego native who has dedicated her career to connecting people to the biodiversity of the region for over 25 years through her work at the San Diego Natural History Museum, The Birch Aquarium at Scripps, UC San Diego, and High Tech High. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Masters in Education, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, she hopes to bring her experience in curriculum development, instructional design, and teacher professional development to SDCAN. Shelley recently served two terms on the Board of Directors for the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy as the Education Chair, and was a member of the Escondido Creek Conservancy’s Education Advisory Board. She currently works as a School Director at High Tech Elementary North County.
Amy has been a part of San Diego’s environmental education community since moving here in 2016 and joined the SDCaN Board in 2023. As a Project Manager at The Energy Coalition, she focuses on engagement and growth for public sector energy and sustainability programs. Prior to working at TEC, Amy worked as a naturalist and program instructor and has experience with curriculum development and implementation. Amy received a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Sociology and a certificate in Sustainability & Behavior Change from UCSD Extension. In her spare time, Amy enjoys exploring all that the region has to offer, whether it is camping in the local desert, backpacking the PCT, or biking in San Diego’s local canyons.