Certified by the California Department of Education
The Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School is regularly certified by the California Department of Education to provide outdoor science field study programs, and is a member in good standing of the California Outdoor School Administrators (COSA).
Shaun Hawke, Lead Teacher: I love working in gorgeous Malibu. I grew up in west Los Angeles, but earned my Bachelor’s degree, as well as a graduate certificate in education, from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I also have training as an Emergency Medical Technician. I taught for Santa Clara County’s outdoor science program and for National Audubon’s Camp in the Rockies. I have worked for L.A. County Outdoor Science Schools for 21 years, opening three different sites as the lead teacher. I like flowers, watching waves and kids who remember to be kind to others.
Kyle Rector: I was introduced to the natural world at a young age in the high desert of California, catching lizards, insects, and spiders whenever I could. By getting involved in scouting as well as camping trips with family, I continued to develop my passion for nature, as well as a desire to understand how everything in the environment works. I attended UC Santa Barbara and received my B.S. in Zoology in 2014. In the spring of 2015, I began my career in environmental education in the Northern Sierra, moving to Orcas Is., WA in 2016 to teach students about the ecosystems of the San Juan Islands during the school year and lead kayak excursions during the summer. I began working with LACOSS in January 2017, and continue to look forward to showing students the beautiful world of Malibu. On my free time, I enjoy kayaking, photography, and finding new places to eat.
Cisco Palmer: I have always loved the outdoors. Growing up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was the perfect setting for me to grow up exploring local creeks, ponds, woodlots and fields. I earned a B.S. in biology at Virginia Tech and shortly thereafter began my teaching career, first as a substitute teacher, then as a tutor and eventually as a middle and high school science teacher. My love for outdoor education began when I went to Massachusetts and worked a season with Nature’s Classroom. In 2004 I moved to California to be an outdoor science school instructor with Orange County Outdoor Science School. After six years with their program, I moved on to LA County Outdoor Science School, and this is my sensational sixth year with LACOSS! My hobbies include birding, hiking, fishing (especially fly fishing), exploring and guitar.
Emily Patton: My passion for the natural world started in a suburb in Kansas, where I spent my days climbing trees, catching toads, and claiming the whole neighborhood as my backyard. I graduated from Kansas State University in 2012 with majors in Anthropology and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences and a minor in Biology. I developed an early interest in wildlife conservation, which has led me all over the world working with various nonhuman primates, and in turn has shown me the importance of fostering knowledge about and respect for the natural world in young people. I began working in environmental education in 2008, started an internship with LACOSS in January 2015, and have stayed on as a full-time staff member ever since! When not working, I can be found reading, doing yoga, or hiking with my sweet dog.
Rebeca Irigoyen: I have always loved being outdoors. There is so much to learn and discover! I grew up in downtown Los Angeles where it's always "go, go, go" and not so much "stop, and look at what's around you". The highlights of my weekends were spending my days at the beach, camping, or hiking with my family. Out of all the ecosystems in the world, my favorite is the open ocean because it's where whales are found! I graduated with a degree in Marine Biology from UC Santa Cruz . I got a job as an instructor at the Seymour Center and I realized that teaching kids marine science and how to protect the environment is my passion! It's my first year with LACOSS and I'm really grateful that I have the opportunity to work with kids and teach them the awesomeness that is nature!
Ally Schachner: I consider myself an explorer, educator and pun enthusiast. I grew up in North Carolina and spent my childhood camping, hiking, and exploring the creek near my house. Summers always included a trip to the beach which has since become my happy place. My love for the ocean led me to earn a B.S. in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina where I was eventually drawn to teaching, but in a nontraditional setting. After graduating college I was inspired to step out of my comfort zone and go exploring so I packed up my life to pursue a career in outdoor education here in California. The past year I spent on the west coast has been a wonderful whirlwind and I can’t wait to continue sharing my passions here for my first year at LACOSS!
Alec Douglas: For as long as I can remember, I have spent my free time romping through woods, climbing mountains, and getting my toes wet on the coast. Now, I am fortunate enough to do those every day here at LACOSS! I began to develop my interest in nature as a child, and as I grew older, I decided to pursue my interests with a BA in Geology from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. I have since worked as a backpacking guide and naturalist for summer camps and environmental education programs in North Carolina, Rhode Island, and California. These experiences have given me a passion for sharing the natural world through hands-on teaching and learning, and a love for getting students into the outdoors, and I am excited to be entering my second year of teaching programs at LACOSS! When I am not teaching, I spend my time surfing, backpacking, and expanding my own knowledge in nature.
Adam Wickstrom: I was born in Indiana and attended college at Indiana Wesleyan University. After living in Indiana surrounding by corn fields I’m extremely excited to live and work with students so near to the beach! Since college I have had the opportunities to work with students in settings ranging from cruise boats, the mountains, and now the beach. This will be my first year at LACOSS and I’m excited to be able to share my love of learning with our guests.
Khalena Wise: Growing up on a small farm in Pennsylvania my childhood was spent learning how to work hard and play hard in the outdoors! I developed a great love for the outdoors, experiential education, science and traveling through weekly family hikes and road trips to national parks. I got a bachelor of science degree in Parks and Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education because I wanted to teach science and provide awesome experiences in the outdoors for kids and people of all ages! When I'm not teaching I enjoy spending time traveling and hiking.