Rachel Houser


Nature Program Instructor

Rachel Houser is an artist and educator. She was born in Los Angeles and grew up in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains where she spent much of her time hiking, exploring, and learning about the wildlife around her. She moved to the Bay Area in 2015 to earn her bachelor’s in sociology. She has worked as an educator for many years and is passionate about working with and supporting young people through their educational journeys. Rachel is also deeply passionate about environmental justice and would like to ensure that every child has an opportunity to develop a passion for and a connection to the natural world. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, and, of course, hiking. 

Katie Doarn


Nature Program Instructor

Katie is an Ohio / Virginia native, but always knew she wanted to live out west. She, her partner, and two cats made the move in the summer of 2020 so she could attend grad school at St. Mary’s College of California. With MFA in hand, Katie is a full-time nature instructor and writes on the side. She has a background in music education, jazz trumpet, and rock climbing. In her spare time, she loves to read oodles of books and bake delicious cakes.

Jessica Tugwell


Equine Coordinator and Riding Instructor

Jessica moved to the US in Jan 2005 from London UK. She has lived in the East Bay since then. Her love for horses started at the age of 7, she started riding English, participating  in 3 day eventing then switched over to dressage and then found her passion for Western after a chance encounter with a local trainers . Jessica  has learned everything she knows from  being at the barn watching and participating whenever she can. 

She has worked with horses for over 15 years. She volunteered at a local miniature horse rescue , was a side walker at a local therapeutic riding facility and a stable hand for a local trainer and now at Sienna Ranch as the Equine  coordinator and riding instructor. She is a certified Equine Sports Massage and Bodyworker as well as a licensed cosmetologist.

She enjoys spending time outdoors and has a special interest in working with children that have spirited natures.

When she’s not working or riding , she spends time with her best friend, her 2 year old Catahoula;  Goose.

Emma Martin


Riding Instructor

Emma has lived in the east bay her whole life. She has always been a lover of animals, and found a passion for riding horses. By working for both western and english trainers, Emma was able to trade work for lessons and learn a ton about training and caring for horses. She worked as a groom for show jumping, an assistant trainer for western horses, and ultimately found out she loved teaching riding lessons. Emma has several years of experience with children from nannying. She loves working with kids because she can see the world through their eyes. Through riding, Emma loves to be able to teach children confidence, teamwork, patience, bravery, and responsibility. She has seen first hand how these traits learned from riding have helped her through many of life’s inevitable struggles, and is thrilled to help facilitate those traits in her students. 

Emily Fuentes


Woodshop Coordinator & Education Manager

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.

Noelle Pipa


Education Coordinator

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!

Cassidy Gunter


Animal Care Assistant

Cassidy has loved animals her whole life. She wants to be a vet, but has a long way to go. Currently she is a student at DVC and is working on general ed classes. Then she would love to transfer to UC Davis for their Vet program. She loves working at Sienna Ranch, the animals and people are wonderful. She grew up riding horses and still loves to whenever she can. In her free time Cassidy loves to hang out with her friends and family. She also enjoys going to plays and movies. She is so happy that she joined the Sienna Ranch team and will continue there for as long as possible.

Kerry Neil


Animal Care Assistant

Kerry grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and was always a fan of the zoo. She loved being outside in nature and knew that she wanted to spend her life in the company of animals. She attended the University of Illinois and got her BS in Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution. After graduation she ended up back in Cincinnati, interning at the zoo, and knew that was the life for her. 

She moved to Chicago and worked at Lincoln Park Zoo for six years in the Farm and hoofstock areas. Love brought her to the Bay Area, and let’s be honest, chipping poop out of ice is no fun, so it wasn’t a hard decision. She landed a part time job at the San Francisco Zoo working with large hoofstock, and a full time job at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo where she worked with Guinea pigs, jaguars, and everything in between.  

After having twins, she gave up her full time gig to take care of them, but still filled in on the weekends. She brings over 20 years of animal care experience with her to Sienna Ranch.  Kerry is living her best canyon life in Lafayette with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, ten chickens, and a tortoise.

Courtney Zimmerman


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!

Lindsay Shannon


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. 

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.

Peter Husch


Summer Camp Nature Program Instructor

Peter grew up in Lafayette and is a former student of Sienna Ranch. He grew up camping and hiking with his family and the Boy Scouts. He is an engineering student and San Diego State University and loves building things and working with hands on projects. Peter also loves playing with and caring for animals, he is excited to share these skills with the youth at Sienna Ranch.

Ksenia Antonoff


Summer Camp Nature Program Instructor

Ksenia has lived in California ever since she moved to United States from Russia at age eleven. She is a lover of all animals, and especially has a passion for horses. She has always loved the outdoors and has fond memories taking nature classes at Lindsay Wildlife Museum as a young girl. She has worked with children at a private day care, vacation bible school, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre and nannying for over 6 years. She is currently working on her B.A, in Elementary and Special Education. Ksenia is thrilled to join Sienna Ranch and to grow in the amazing program

Mike Jennings


Orchard Technician

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.

Gordon Gross


Facilities Technician

Gordie is from OAKLAND and loves coming out to the Ranch. He enjoys helping with the cleaning and maintenance. He also likes talking to the animals when he thinks no one is looking.

Julie Sanders


Business Director

Julie grew up in the East Bay and has been working at Sienna Ranch for 4 years. Before Sienna Ranch she was living 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 dog Ruby, friends, and family. Julie is passionate about building communities and connecting with everyone she meets.

Bridgett McGrath


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.