Tara Fuad, Executive Director
Tara has dedicated her career to environmental education beginning as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa where she engaged community leaders in reforestation projects. Upon returning to the States, Tara moved to Washington DC where she earned a Masters degree in Biology and Environmental Policy, and then pivoted to outdoor education after accepting a position with the Audubon Naturalist Society. Since then she has worked exclusively with environmental nonprofit organizations where she has been responsible for program design and implementation and fundraising. Tara has also been involved in recruiting and training volunteers and staff, establishing networks and collaborations, and providing professional learning opportunities for formal and informal educators. Her most recent position was with Nature Collective (formerly San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy) where she served as Education Director for 13 years. Tara is passionate about the many benefits of spending time outdoors, and throughout her career, has been committed to connecting people of all ages to nature through school, community, and family programs.
Board of Directors
Karin Robertson, President
Karen 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.
Cynde Lane, Secretary
Cynde is a retired Kaiser Permanente pediatrician. She is actively involved in school gardening, and has many years of experience as a troop leader and outdoor consultant for Girl Scouts. She is passionate about the importance of nature experiences in children’s healthy development and is available for public and professional educational presentations.
Judy Osman, Treasurer
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 Anake 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.
Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D., Board Member
Rod serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Brown Endowed Director of Recovery Ecology, where his interests lie primarily in the pragmatic application of ecological and behavioral knowledge to solving conservation problems with endangered species. As an advocate for reconnecting society to nature, he has served on committees for the Children & Nature Network and co-founded Family Adventures in Nature in 2009, and was a founding member of the San Diego Children and Nature organizing committee. As a conservation biologist, Ron believes we must get today’s children out in nature to grow the next generation of conservation professionals and environmental stewards.
Judie Lincer, M.S. Ed., Board Member
Judie worked as a classroom teacher in grades preschool-high school for 20 years and currently is a Naturalist Educator and very active member of SDCaN. She works as a Program Manager on various projects around the county that are designed to bring Schoolyard Science Lessons and outdoor education into schools. One main emphasis of the programs she leads is to empower teachers to use the outdoors to engage children in science, enhance their scientific- inquiry skills and to inspire and develop an appreciation of the environment and ecosystems in San Diego County. Judie works for San Diego Audubon and leads curriculum-based hikes at the Silverwood Wildlife Sanctuary, Anstine Preserve and the South Bay Wildlife Refuge, as well as hikes for Outdoor Explore! which is an after school program that takes children outdoors and into nearby nature spaces for exploration. She also coordinates California Native Plant Workshops and the annual Native Plant Tour for the California Native Plants Society-San Diego (CNSP-SD.) She is an active member of the CNPS-SD Garden Committee. gro.erutandnanerdlihcdsnull@recnileiduj
Mary Zanotelli, Board Member & Education Chair
Mary has been connecting children with nature as an environmental educator for more than 25 years. It’s more than a career; it’s her passion. As NatureStudies 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 for a myriad of diverse audiences 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 SanDiego and Wisconsin. Mary is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation. Her Bachelor of Arts degree is in Journalism from Marquette University, and she is a published writer who is currently working on a series of children’s books. Mary is also an amateur photographer whose work has been displayed at several juried art shows.