Staff, Interns & Key Volunteers

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(is not all inclusive)

Brayden Mitchell
Executive Director

Employment Date: September 2012
Brayden received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation from Humboldt State University. From there he went on to work for all levels of government in the natural resource field. Some highlights include; backpacking through Desolation Wilderness clearing trail for the USFS, working in Rocky Mountain NP at 11,800 ft. elevation at their Alpine Visitor Center, traveling across the country with a NPS exhibit for the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, and overseeing the daily operations of the Mount St Helens VC for WA State Parks. The common thread through all of this has been his drive to help people make personal connections to the natural world around them. “My love for the natural environment sprouted early in my life as I spent my days playing in the greenbelt behind my house. It was nurtured along through Boy Scouts and family camping trips. Then it blossomed into a carrier path while attending HSU.” When Brayden isn’t working you will find him with his family playing in the front yard, hiking, or camping. He also enjoys his daily run with his two Labrador Retrievers. “I am truly excited about what the future holds for Placer Nature Center and I invite you and your family to visit us and to become a part of our growing family.” Brayden is a National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Certified Interpretive Guide, and holds certifications from Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Project WILD Aquatic.
(530) 878-6053 ext. 605

Linda Desai
Education Director

Employment Date: October 1991
Linda is the co-founder and Education Director of PNC, a college instructor, author and community environmental educator and teacher. Linda is a tireless, dedicated leader for all of the education programs provided by Placer Nature Center. She is a facilitator for Project W.E.T., Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, Close the Loop, and active with California Regional Environmental Education Community and GO Network Member of National Association of Interpreters. Linda holds a Master of Science Degree and Conservation Education Bachelor of Science Degree from Michigan State University. She also holds Conservation Education Credentials for Community College Instructor in Biology, Forestry, Natural Resources Designated Subjects Vocational Education – Forestry, Natural Resources, Rural. Linda has received the 2005 Project Learning Tree Outstanding Educator Award and the 2003 Governor’s Economic and Environmental Leadership Award for excellence in children’s environmental education.
(530) 878-6053

Leah Cavanaugh
School Program & Docent Coordinator

Leah coordinates Placer Nature Center’s docents and school program dates. She keeps our school programs going by keeping our docents informed of all the programs happening at the nature center, presented at school and delivered off-site in the field, like our Taylor Ranch programs. She is also a volunteer docent.

Josena Aiello
Staff Naturalist

Spending her early years in South Shore Lake Tahoe she developed a reverence for nature. After 25 years as a professional floral designer she realized how huge the industries' impact is on the planets ecology. With a desire to work in conservation she took a part-time seasonal maintenance job at the local State Recreation Park. Seeing the litter and vandalism in the park encouraged her to turn her focus to environmental education. Today Josena attends Sierra Community College with a focus on Natural Science. She is an active member of the campus environmental club (ECOS), she is volunteering to help educate fellow students about the environmental impact of their choices. As the Staff Naturalist, Josena works with children of all ages, teachers and parents facilitating connections to nature and breaking down fears of the wild outdoors.

Nancy Morgan
Nature Shop Manager - Volunteer

Nancy is the artistic talent behind the wonderful Nature Shop. Since she retired from administrative work in grammar schools, she has volunteered for Placer Nature Center in multiple capacities, including volunteer docent.

Valerie Curl
Social  Media & Web Coordinator - Volunteer

Volunteering at Placer Nature Center since 2009, Valerie has worked to increase the center's presence across the web and keeps our website updated. Her extensive career in marketing and advertising has helped grow our community and her passion for nature and our planet makes her an ideal social media and web coordinator for us!

Norma Brink
Accountant/Bookkeeper - Volunteer

Since 1991, Norma has generously volunteered her services to manage our income proceeds. She has generously shared her skills in non-profit organizational finances with the center and she is greatly appreciated for her skills and long volunteer service to PNC..

Barbara Leak

Barbara is an experienced and outstanding bookkeeper who works with the Foothills Farmers Market and other clients. She brings her positive attitude and team spirit as well as her efficiency and attention to detail to her role as bookkeeper for Placer Nature Center.

Darrell J. Dwyer, MBA CPA
Accountant - Volunteer

Darrell is principal of Dwyer and Company with offices in Auburn and Rocklin. Darrell completes Placer Nature Center's tax returns for the IRS, Secretary of State and Franchise Tax Board each year and addresses other tax related issues for the Center to ensure satisfactory compliance with the legal and accounting requirements of our 501.c.3 organization.
164 Maple Street Suite 3 Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 888-7130 Fax: (530) 888-0741

Many more wonderful Volunteers and Docents insure the operation of PNC and all of the school programs - be sure to read more about them here!

Last updated: October 8, 2012