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Mountains

Meet The Team

*Guest Instructors not Pictured Here

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Denise

Meet Denise, an enthusiastic advocate for education and exploration, boasting 15 years of experience as a K-12 educator. Her educational journey kicked off as a teacher's assistant right out of high school, evolving into a full-fledged teacher armed with a B.S. in Child Development. Guiding young minds through their crucial formative years has been both a privilege and a profound passion, shaping Denise's perspective on life and learning.

Beyond the classroom, photography has become a cherished outlet for her creative spirit. Armed with a captivating photojournalistic lens, Denise specializes in seizing candid expressions and documenting the vibrant atmosphere of events. To her, photography is more than just images; it's about encapsulating the raw emotions that define a moment. A single glance at a photograph can transport individuals back, enabling them to relive the joys and sensations experienced.

In her role as an educator, adventurer, and visual storyteller, Denise derives immense joy from connecting with others through shared experiences, sparking imaginations, and crafting lasting memories.

Denise is our head event photographer providing awesome downloadable images from some of our events through our website.

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Carly

Carly Lake is a painter, art educator, and fiber artist exploring natural dyes from her home in Upland, California. Lake works as an illustrator, creating vibrant imagery for stories, print, murals, and more.

 

Her debut picture book, Waa’aka The Bird Who Fell in Love With the Sun (Heyday Books), is a retelling of an origin story of how the sun got up into the sky by Tongva author and professor, Cindi Alvitre.

 

She has 7 years of art education experience with children K-12, focusing on topics of drawing, watercolor, connecting with nature, and cultivating imagination. She also enjoys facilitating classes about natural dyes, sharing ethnobotanical histories, artistic techniques, and learning with others about our shared urban ecology.

 

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and minor in Native American Cultures from California State University at Long Beach. Her portfolio can be found at carlylake.com

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JOIN OUR TEAM!

Are you energetic, passionate about our youth and connecting them to the outdoors, and are looking for part-time and flexible work with a nature-based organization?

Maybe you would like to participate as a volunteer for our Gear Library?

Send an email inquiry to hfadventurecommunity@gmail.com

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Suzy

Founder and program coordinator with over 20 years experience as an educator and athletic program director. She is a Wilderness First Responder, UC California Naturalist, student of Advanced Wilderness Medicine, and a Leave No Trace Trainer. She volunteers her time as a docent program coordinator for San Dimas Canyon Nature Center Association and is an active member of the Glendora City Trails Council.

 

As a founder of the HFAC Gear Library and an active member and volunteer of Outdoors Empowered Network, a national network of community-led, youth-centered outdoor education groups that are dedicated to increasing access and diversity in the outdoors through gear libraries and outdoor leadership training. Beyond her professional endeavors, Suzy is a homeschooling mom driven by a profound passion for witnessing youth challenge themselves and embrace adventure in the natural environment. Through her work, she strives to instill in young minds a deep connection to the Earth and all living beings, fostering a sense of responsibility and appreciation for the world around them.

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Gilbert

Gilbert is a passionate educator with over 20 years of athletic performance coaching and plant-based nutrition. He developed a psychomotor program for the LAUSD, holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University, and is an energetic motivational leader in his field. The youth love his positive energy and always feel encouraged to take safe risks while on outdoor adventures with him.

You may find him leading our high-ropes courses in Yorba Linda, guiding school groups, youth and adult rehabilitation groups, police cadets, and search and rescue personnel.

He is passionate about personal health of the people, all animals, and our home, the planet. You can see and feel his love for youth from the moment you meet him.

Languages: English, Spanish

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Boaz

Boaz is a naturalist and nature-based educator in the Los Angeles area. He comes to us after working with the Aquarium of the Pacific in animal husbandry and outdoor education with Los Angeles after-school programs, including the homeschool program for HFAdventureCommunity.

Specializing in entomology, Boaz is not only an insect enthusiast but also a prolific observer, with an impressive 80,000+ observations on iNaturalist! The students absolutely love going on exploratory walks with him.

 

"As an educator, my vision is to show people how important the connections we make both to nature and each other are and how they can shape our future for the better."

Whether you are an adult or student with us, you will learn something every time you are on a trail with him! 

Read a Natural History Museum article featuring Boaz, here!

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Rachel

Rachel’s background is in photography, with nine years of professional and academic experience, but her passions extend beyond that. She is an enthusiast and student of nature who can often be found on the local trails, photographing the life she encounters.

 

She adores working with kids, and has many years of experience as a mentor, tutor, and caretaker. Also working as a counselor at HAWKs LA, she has honed her teaching abilities, instructing students in everything from hiking conduct to the names and habits of local plants and animals.

 

She is excited to use all her skills to inspire each child she teaches, and to be a member of the amazing community at Healthy Footprints.

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Andrea

Andrea is a certified Naturalist and Herbalist and the founder of Herb Club L.A.. Her gentle, sweet demeanor and a focus on land stewardship and community building is a gift to the children. Growing up as a first-generation immigrant of Native American descent, she also focuses paying homage and respect to Native American ways of living with the land. Through her own journey, she found deep healing reconnecting to more natural ways of living. She believes that caring for our inner world will be reflected in our outer world and vice-versa. By connecting with our plant kin, 

learning about nature and from nature, we can in turn learn to take better care of ourselves and each other. You can find her teaching classes with our Field Institute program on Thursdays.

Languages: English, Spanish

Read about Andrea in this LATV highlight, here!

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Samal

Sam's deep connection to the natural world traces back to their childhood, a period marked by transformative experiences in the Philippines. Collaborating with their Grandmother, Sam engaged in field research amid the lahar fields formed by the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption. In this dynamic environment, the power of community knowledge and mutual aid became evident, leaving an indelible mark on Sam's perspective.

In their current role as a naturalist and community science program manager for the Natural History Museum of L.A. County, Sam draws inspiration from their family's traditional Indigenous ways of learning. This unique approach becomes a guiding force, shaping Sam's work and commitment to merging cultural wisdom with scientific exploration.

Sam's dedication extends to HFAdventureCommunity, where they actively contribute to the development of new Community Science and Environmental Justice programs. At HFAC, Sam is instrumental in teaching classes in chiropterology, tracking, and more. Their multifaceted role exemplifies a commitment to fostering an inclusive, community-driven approach to environmental education.

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