Staff


Instructors

Em Ritchie

Nature Program Instructor

Bio and Picture coming soon.

Jessica Furtado

Nature Program Instructor

Jessica grew up in Brentwood of the East Bay area. Her childhood was filled with days upturning logs to look for critters, catching tadpoles and frogs, and swimming in Marsh Creek. She is passionate about habitat and wildlife conservation. Following this passion, she was awarded a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Planning from Sonoma State University. She began her career in outdoor education with being an interpreter for the East Bay Regional Park District.
She joined the Sienna Ranch team in late 2020 and has had a great time teaching students and building connections with nature. During her days off, she loves to go hiking, crochet, paint, take wildlife photography, and play video games.

Jessica Kauzer

She/Her/Hers

Nature Program Instructor

As an East Bay native, Jessica grew up being inspired by the region’s natural landscape – hiking in nearby Briones Regional Park, camping across California, and exploring local wildlife. Since she was little, Jessica has loved sharing her excitement for animals and nature with anyone who would listen. While earning her degree in Biology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she found great joy in creating opportunities and engaging experiences that fostered others’ connection to science, sparked curiosity, and built appreciation for California’s unique biodiversity. A swim coach, tutor, and teacher’s assistant, and informal educator at the California Academy of Sciences, Jessica has worked with kids from infants to college students, continually growing her passion for teaching and sharing conservation actions to take care of our planet. 

Prior to making her way back into science education and to Sienna Ranch, Jessica earned her MS in Applied Marine Science and spent over 5 years working at the marine science and policy interface, synthesizing and translating science, designing engaging communications, and collaborating with interdisciplinary teams to inform solutions to California’s complex coastal challenges. While Jessica has taken a winding journey from science to education to policy and back again, connecting others to the natural world and empowering conservation and change for our natural landscapes has been a constant thread throughout her career. Jessica firmly believes in building a better tomorrow by supporting connections to each other and the world around us, and is excited to be able to continue to do this as part of the Sienna Ranch team

Jackie (Jax) Eugster

Nature Program Instructor

Picture and Bio Coming Soon!

Emily Fuentes

Woodshop Coordinator & Nature Program Instructor

Emily Fuentes is a Bay Area native, avid gardener and tinkerer. Her enthusiasm for outdoor education was nurtured while studying at UC Santa Cruz and afterwards spent over 5 years teaching in school gardens in Oakland, Ca. She got her curiosity for woodworking at a much younger age when she got her first taste of saw dust and building as a child during weekend visits to the Berkeley Marina Adventure Playground. Since then she studied furniture making at Laney College and has had a blast teaching woodworking in a variety of schools and summer camps in the Bay Area. She excited join the Sienna Ranch community and continue to learn and grow with everyone.

Cori Floum

Horse Riding Instructor

Cori grew up loving horses and has enjoyed riding and teaching lessons for the past four years. She was super excited to join Sienna Ranch due to the variety of farm animals and wildlife on the property and the new experience it provided. She hopes to continue riding through college and work in the environmental science field while owning a few horses of her own.

Shoopie Panholzer

Nature Program Instructor

Shoopie grew up in Carmel Valley where she spent her days watching wildlife, playing under the oak trees and catching lizards. She fell in love with protecting nature when she held a poison dart frog in Costa Rica at age 9 and has been on a journey to foster that love in others ever since. After many inspiring science teachers convinced her to do so, she went to Saint Mary’s College of California to study environmental science and dance. During college she was lucky to find Montecito Sequoia Lodge and Family camp where she found her joy of showing young people the amazing things nature has to offer. She has learned to follow her heart and do things that scare her everyday through experiencing nature and hopes to inspire others to do so too. She believes Sienna Ranch is the perfect place to do just that. Outside of work Shoopie enjoys walking her dog, hiking, dancing, attending performing arts shows, and being with her family.

Lindsay Shannon

Special Events & Nature Program Instructor

Lindsay grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts. What was supposed to be a temporary move to the Bay Area turned into a 25 plus year love of California. She graduated from Hayward State University with a degree in Social Services and Psychology. She enjoys hiking, reading, sewing, riding horses, walking her dogs and hanging out with her two daughters. Lindsay worked as a ABA Behavioral therapist and behavioral consultant for over 15 years and her love of working with children with autism, as well as other special needs, has been a long lasting passion that continues to grow. Lindsay started working at Sienna Ranch in the summer of 2016 as part of the Special Events staff and now has a group during the week. Her love of nature, animals, children and Art has given her the opportunity to continue to nurture these skills with the wonderful staff and amazing kids at Sienna Ranch. 

Jessica Groetsch

Nature Program Instructor

Jessica is an east bay native who’s steadfast love for all things nature has led her on many adventures, the most recent landing her at Sienna Ranch.  She has her Bachelors of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary biology from UC Santa Cruz. Birds are her greatest passion, spending two field seasons in Yosemite National Park working as a bird bander, collecting data from migratory passerines during the breeding season. This experience left her with a strong knowledge of local bird species and a love for leading bird hikes. 

Working as an Education Specialist at Lindsay Wildlife Experience she found her love for teaching and working with children. Lindsay gave her the avenue to fuse her two great joys; working with animals and sharing that passion with other people. Sienna Ranch is an exciting  venture for her where she can implement her previous experiences.

Annette Dale

Nature Program Instructor

Annette strives to be the best version of herself every day, inspiring others to do the same. She grew up in a close-knit family where she was taught to look for the beauty in every moment and in everyone. Her childhood was spent immersed in arts and crafts, including building radio-controlled airplanes, weaving, painting, ceramics and sewing. She relishes the outdoors, growing up riding bikes, backpacking, camping, sailing, hiking, stargazing, and watching clouds. She received a degree in psychology and earned her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at UC Davis. She taught grades K-3 for 11 years. She has worked in all areas of education, including as a home and hospital teacher, reading specialist, tutor, and special education substitute. Since 2008, she has focused her energy on being a mom. She is proud to be a Lifetime Girl Scout and has been a Girl Scout leader since 2015. She enjoys helping children to create a solid foundation of academic and social/emotional life skills. She is grateful about working with people of all ages, seeing the joy in their faces when they learn something new.

Administration, Facilities & Animal Care

Julie Sanders

She/Her/Hers

Business Director

Julie grew up in the East Bay and just returned from living abroad in Glasgow, Scotland for two years. While she was there she worked alongside youth from many different communities and backgrounds in Glasgow taking them on outdoor adventures and teaching cooking skills, life lessons, and mentoring youth on how to be the best versions of themselves. Prior to moving to Scotland Julie studied Business at the University of Oregon and is a proud Duck fan. In her spare time she loves hiking, camping, and being outdoors with her friends and family. Julie is passionate about building communities and connecting with everyone she meets. Julie is excited to be working at Sienna Ranch and exploring more of the East Bay hiking trails!

Bridgett McGrath

She/Her/Hers

Operations Director

Bridgett loves working with Communities to create sustainable futures. Her background in architecture and sustainable building has influenced her passion for land stewardship. With an education background in environmental studies and geology, she loves exploring the many timescales of our earth, from soil to cliff faces. She is excited to take on the new Operations Director role and continue to plan for Sienna Ranch’s future.

Noelle Pipa

She/Her/Hers

Education Manager

Noelle grew up in Santa Cruz, California from the age of 4 and has been in love with nature and animals (domestic and wild) ever since she can remember. Her mother taught her gardening and influenced her appreciation for trees and the environment at a very young age. Her father taught her the importance of playing and spending time outdoors. And her older sister played with her! Having grown up in a place with so much biodiversity and wildlife, Noelle has always known the importance of protecting nature and conserving the beauty in the world. She has always loved hiking, especially in the redwood forests, and swimming, especially in the ocean! (Some of Noelle’s other hobbies include: volleyball, soccer, running, yoga, surfing, tennis, puzzles, playing cards, birdwatching, staying close with family and friends, watching Disney movies, growing food, eating all the food, singing, dancing, being weird and goofy).


Because of the inspiration her family and hometown had on her as a youngin’, Noelle attended the University of California, Davis to earn her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology. During her summers in college, she worked as a camp counselor for Camp Gateway and a program specialist for Camp Campbell. It was then that her passion for working with and education children grew! After college, Noelle got a job at The Gardens at Heather Farm as a Natural Science Teacher, and moved to the East Bay. She has loved working in such a beautiful setting and owes so much of her teaching experience to The Gardens. Now, Noelle enjoys creating nature lessons and curriculum that teaches nature science and exploration in fun, safe and hands-on ways! She is very excited to be a part of Sienna Ranch and work and play with such an awesome team!

Nick Jennings

Facilities Director

Nick has lived in the East Bay Area for most of his life, and spent much of his childhood and teenage years right here in Lafayette. While he attended Acalanes High School, he often looked over at Deer Hill Road and wondered, “What is that place with the white gate and weird telephone poles?” Little did he realize, he’d one day be working there.

Nick was introduced to Sienna Ranch in 2013 by his brother Mike after returning to the Bay Area from attending CSU Chico, where he studied geology. He began helping out with projects here and there, and by Fall of 2014, was a full time employee. He loves the unique challenges the ranch provides daily as well as the endless opportunities to learn new skills. In his time here he has picked up everything from carpentry and plumbing to welding and even beekeeping. He enjoys figuring out how things work and is always looking for something new to learn.

In his free time, Nick loves camping and playing music with his family, enjoys hobbies such as leatherworking and antique collecting, and is an avid player of board games and tabletop role-playing games.

Mike Jennings

Facilities Coordinator

Born and raised in the east Bay Area, Michael enjoyed hiking, camping and gardening throughout his childhood. He studied horticulture in Santa Cruz and the Sierra Foothills before attending Prescott College in Arizona, where he received a degree in agroecology and permaculture design.  He has 14 years of experience in horticulture and has also worked as a botanist for the National Forest Service–in Sonora and the Lake Tahoe Basin.

A member of the Sienna Ranch family since May 2012, he is thrilled to put to use his expertise in sustainable land stewardship. He enjoys using his plumbing and carpentry skills to maintain and improve amenities at the ranch.  He is also excited for his daughters, Lillian and Alice, to attend Sienna Ranch once they are old enough.

In his spare time, he enjoys plant propagation, especially edibles, succulents, and native plants. His garden in Lafayette is a yearly stop on the East Bay “Bringing Back the Natives” garden tour, where his passion for drought-tolerant, sustainable gardening is on display.  A self-taught musician, he loves to sing and play the guitar, mandolin, banjo, and piano.

Courtney Zimmerman

She/Her/Hers

Animal Care Manager

Courtney has loved animals her entire life, and has a special passion for horses. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, she was surrounded by pets, farms, and wildlife and took many trips to the zoo with her family. She grew up mucking stalls to pay for her riding lessons and went to horse summer camp where it became clear that horses were not “just a phase.” She attended the University of Kentucky, earning her B.S. in Equine Science & Management and riding for the UK Equestrian Team. Upon graduation, she interned and then worked at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden with the Wild Encounters animal team and then as a Children’s Zoo Keeper. While working at the zoo, she simultaneously completed her M.A. in Communication from Northern Kentucky University and her M.A. in Zoology from Miami University. Although she loved working with exotic animals—including Asian elephants, giraffes, flamingos, owls, hawks, snakes, alligators, and many others—her heart was in San Francisco with her long-time boyfriend (now husband). She continued her work with animals by briefly working at the San Francisco Zoo and at Wag Hotels, before landing at UC Elkus Ranch Environmental Education Center in Half Moon Bay. After 4 years of learning all about lambing and kidding, goat training, youth environmental engagement, and social media marketing, she took the job as Animal Care Manager at Sienna Ranch to further develop her animal husbandry and equine handling skills. 

In her free time, Courtney enjoys playing soccer and tennis, traveling, urban hiking, back woods camping, cross stitching, and lounging around with her husband and cat. She is excited to get to know a new group of animals and people and to further develop her animal care and management skills!