California Naturalist at SSI ~ Course Instructors/Facilitators

Sol Henson works as an education program Co-Director for Sierra Streams Institute. He has several years of experience monitoring water quality and stream health in addition to a teaching background in public schools ranging from the central valley to the foothills. He obtained a master’s degree in hydrology at the University of California Davis and has worked on projects both locally and internationally related to water resources and water resource management. Raised in Nevada County, he brings a strong science background to an education program that focuses on the Sierra foothill ecosystem he knows and loves.

Devin Cormia was born and raised on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula, attending De
Anza College in San Jose where he studied Environmental Studies and U.C. Santa Cruz where he received a B.A. in Community Studies with a focus on Urban Agriculture and Social Movements.
During his undergraduate field studies, Devin lived and worked in Portland, Oregon where he began his career as an environmental educator guiding field trips of school kids to a local farm and wetland where students learned about how plants grow, local aquatic wildlife, and the impacts of agriculture on the environment. Following his graduation from U.C. Santa Cruz, Devin was hired by an elementary school and began teaching science in an outdoor classroom and farm for the school’s 600 K-5 students. In his next position Devin worked with middle & high-schoolers in the S.F. East Bay where he coordinated teams of students to participate in local restoration projects and trained them to lead their own restoration projects and educate their peers in watershed studies.

Upon moving to Grass Valley, Devin completed his student teaching with Cal State Teach, getting to know the students and teachers in the area while honing his classroom teaching skills. Now beginning his position with Sierra Streams Institute, Devin is looking forward to working with teachers to engage students in hands-on citizen science projects.


Instructor Emerita:
Kelly Santos
worked as an education program Co-Director for Sierra Streams Institute.  Kelly was raised in Irvine, CA, and graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Marine Biology. She brings extensive laboratory, field, and teaching experience to Sierra Streams Institute. In the past, she has worked and volunteered with the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, UC Santa Cruz, Michigan State University, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, as well as Pretoma and Centro de Educación Creativa in Costa Rica. These various positions have taken her from the depths of the kelp forest to lakes in the high sierra and allowed her the opportunity to work among scientists, teachers, environmental managers, and students. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Sierra, cooking, and making photographs.

Susan Sanford grew up in the company of seashores and mountains in California and New Zealand.  The natural world has been a lifelong companion, and she delights in the company of those who want to come outside and play.  Susan studied natural history and biology at UC Santa Cruz, journalism at UC Berkeley, and did sound recording and editing for radio and films for many years. In addition to teaching the California Naturalist course, she teaches Nature Playshops, is a project coach and presentation consultant, and is the Coordinator for the Community Support Network of Nevada County, a collaborative of 60 organizations and 425 individuals who serve kids and families. She loves music and plays a bit of ukulele, has backpacked in the Sierra Nevada for many years, and is a certified California Naturalist.


Throughout the course, you will also interact with many guest speakers as well as course facilitators and Sierra Streams Institute staff. For more information, click on the links below!

(Click on links below, and scroll down on the page to find the speaker you are interested in learning more about.)

Class 1, 3/17/15Susan Sanford, Harrison Goldspiel, Juliet Ryan-Davis

Field Trip 1, 3/21/15–  Kelly HickmanRick Berry, Rick Ramos

Class 2, 3/24/15–  Andrew Collins-Anderson, Melony Vance, Shelly Covert

Class 3, 4/7/15–  Chris Wemmer, Bill Wilson

Field Trip 2, 4/11/15–  Jeff LauderOri Chafe

Class 4, 4/14/15–  Tom Van Wagner, Julia Berkey, Harrison Goldspiel

Field Trip 3, 4/18/15–  Tom Van Wagner, Julia Berkey, Harrison Goldspiel

Class 5, 4/21/15–  Eric EnglesOri Chafe

Class 6, 4/28/15–  Kyle LeachJuliet Ryan-Davis

Class 7, 5/5/15–  Joanne Hild, Sol Henson, Kaitlyn Hacker

Field Trip 4, 5/9/15–  Rudy DarlingEric EnglesOri Chafe

Class 8, 5/12/15–  Amber Taxiera, Alexandria Keeble-Toll

Class 9, 5/19/15–  Ann Westling

Class 10, 5/26/15–  California Naturalist Capstone Presentations