Executive Director Joanna Stodden was born and raised in the rivers, forests, and mountains of the Duwamish, Suquamish, Muckleshoot and other Coast Salish peoples.  After graduating with a BS in field biology from the Evergreen State College, she worked for several environmental consulting firms conducting stream surveys for amphibians and salmon habitat all over Southeast Alaska.  She eventually became lonely among the grizzly bears and mosquitoes and felt a strong desire to share the remarkable biodiversity of our earth with others.  She has taught environmental education on beaches, forests, wetlands, aboard tall ships, in school gardens, and on a beach with the third greatest tidal exchange in the world! She began teaching Beach Heroes Programs for the Environmental Science Center in 2009 and served as ESC’s Program Manager from 2015-2019.  Joanna is delighted to advocate for outdoor programming in south King County and feels honored to be able to partner with the dedicated and talented teachers, parents, students, and community members who understand the value in stepping outside of the four walls of the classroom.  You will most likely find Joanna squawking and dancing with the herons, or following an ant back to her colony alongside her busy and inquisitive toddler. (she/her) 

Grants and Programs Director Kelly Steffen has been working in marine and environmental education for years.  Her previous employment had her sharing the marine wonders to the land-locked citizens of Utah as the Director of Education at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. She has also taught students in south Texas and Florida but the Pacific Northwest has always had that special draw. Working as a naturalist, coordinator for the Salmon Heroes program, and now managing the grants, Kelly is excited to be a part of the work ESC is doing to share the wonders of the Puget Sound area. Kelly holds a B.A. in Biology from Lewis & Clark College and a M.S. in Marine Science from The University of Texas at Austin. When she finds time, she enjoys gardening, camping, triathlons, and chasing after her two girls.  (she/her)

Programs Manager Rosie Wilson-Briggs has been working outdoors with youth since 2012, in habitats ranging from temperate rainforests to urban parks to the waters of the Salish Sea. A certificate program in Scientific Illustration at the University of Washington brought her to the Pacific Northwest in 2010, where she fell in love with this beautiful place. Since then she’s worked seasonally at various outdoor education organizations, including as a naturalist at ESC and as a program coordinator aboard the Schooner Adventuress. In 2020 she received a master’s degree in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle, which helped bring clarity and focus for her to the issues of equity and engagement in outdoor education. She is dedicated and wildly enthusiastic about the work that ESC is doing, and is excited to expand into her new role here. Besides working outdoors, she finds joy in drawing, knitting, playing role-playing games, and swimming in rivers.  (she/her)

Community Engagement Manager, Katy Kachmarik earned her B.S. in marine biology from the University of Oregon. Ever since she has worked to connect people to their local waterways and build empathy for marine wildlife. She is excited to bring her enthusiasm for accessible environmental education to ESC’s community programs. Katy has held many different education and outreach positions at various institutions including Highline College’s Marine Science and Technology Center, Pacific Science Center, and Imagine Children’s Museum. She is currently working on her M.A. in Biology and Community Engagement through Woodland Park Zoo’s Advanced Inquiry Program. In her spare time she can be found watching Disney movies, gardening on her apartment’s patio, or doing homework for her graduate program.  (she/her)

Teen Gardens and Restoration Coordinator, Orian Grant has long felt a connection to communities and the environment coming from rural Xenia, Ohio. While studying sustainability and environmental science at Pacific Lutheran University, they assumed a position as Sustainability Coordinator in 2011. This experience emphasized the intrinsic connection between our food systems, water and our global oceans. Since then, Orian has committed 15 years working in environmental and marine science through STEM and outdoor education and 12 years of permaculture and landscaping design.

Applying these skills in 2020, Orian co-founded a BIPOC urban farming organization titled Black Star Farmer, with their experience providing insight into the programming and mission development.  (they/them)

Marketing and Special Programs Coordinator, Kat Vivarelli received her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Studies from Washington State University Vancouver. She worked as an educator with the Vancouver Water Resources Education Center through a government internship program for 2 years on the Columbia River, helping to train new staff and develop programs and partnerships with local organizations and the Chinook tribal council. She grew up in White Center, WA and is proud to once again reside in the Salish Sea watershed, working to bring diverse educational opportunities to students all over South King County. Kat joined the ESC team as a Naturalist in 2019, and continues to find creative ways to contribute to the ESC’s culture and mission. In her free time, Kat enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, stand up paddling and sharing her passion for the outdoors through volunteering.

ESC Board Members: We are supported by an active board of directors and encourage you to learn more about them, and the opportunities to join.

ESC Naturalists: We are also fortunate to have a corps of highly qualified and passionate part-time naturalists! Positions open seasonally for school programs of Beach Heroes and Salmon Heroes and lead into community program opportunities. Volunteering can be a gateway for all roles and we hope you join our team!

Naturalist Introductions: Interested in learning more about our incredible naturalists? Here are some short videos in which our naturalists tell a little bit about how and why they became scientists and educators, and talk about what a day at their job looks like!

Naturalist Vale (3:33 minutes)

Naturalist Alyssa (3:15 minutes)