Heather King

Heather King

Lead Field Staff, Director and Co-Founder

Heather King is most profoundly moved by the relationship between children and nature. “Nothing else has the same mirror to the nature of being human; A sense of calm, a surge of energy, a marvelous moment that lasts a lifetime, these are the gifts of nature, and I can only hope to create the space for that connection to happen more often”. Heather has two daughters (her best teachers) and is married to Greg Grant. With a Masters Degree in Outdoor Education Administration, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, she continues to seek new insight and knowledge of nature, kids and herself. She is a professional outdoor educator and mentor with over 25 years of experience. Her broad range of positions have included outdoor education coordinator and science teacher at Oak Grove High School, wilderness educator for the International Center for Earth Concerns on the Taft property in Ojai, the Sunbow Ecology Center in Ojai, and Naturalists at Large in Ventura among many other programs around the country and internationally. Currently Heather continues her work as Education Director and instructor for Once Upon a Watershed in Ojai, and in 2009 Heather co-founded Ventura Wild and continues as the director and lead instructor with a growing team of leaders and a community of families and collaborators. This is a heartfelt profession for Heather, who is committed to fostering a playful sense of discovery and wonder that leads to a joyful curiosity about life and learning.

Sara MacCracken

Lead Field Staff

Sara has been a lover of the outdoors and nature since she can remember. From camping in Mammoth as a child to riding her horse for hours in the canyons as a teen. She has always found solace and connection in nature. Sara spent many years working with special needs children and at risk youth. She recently taught leadership and team building to students at Montessori School of Ojai. Sara holds a M.A. from Naropa University in Dance/Movement Therapy. It was here that she was introduced to wilderness therapy. Following the completion of her degree she worked with at risk youth for 5 years. During that time she developed and co-led bi-yearly backpacking trips for the youth. Later she led groups of young adults through Central America where they worked in National Parks, helped the plight of sea turtles and did other service projects. She has studied the medicinal uses of plants for the past 20 years. She is a bird watcher and has a great love for all creatures. Sara has led rites of passage programs for women and expressive arts therapy programs for pregnant women. She is very excited to support Mothers in their connection to the wilderness.Currently Sara is the mother of two energetic boys. She not only teaches cooking at the Montessori School of Ojai she also holds the position of Director of Development.  She recently completed her own 4 day vision quest in nature. She and her husband enjoy spending as much time as possible in nature with their boys.

Amy Davis

Lead Field Staff

Amy has been a naturalist/educator/guide for nearly 20 years.  Her love of nature started in the Southeast in Charleston, South Carolina as she was earning a B.S. in Geology.  Shortly after graduating she started working at a Nature Center and leading canoeing, kayaking, biking and birding tours along with classes in the nature center.  After moving out to California to work as a naturalist educator teaching environmental education, she continued to be a kayak guide in the summer and winters.  The guiding took her to places such as Belize, Panama, San Juan Islands, Wyoming, Baja, Mexico and the Channel Islands.   She currently lives in Ventura and continues to teach outdoor education through several different organizations in Southern California along with leading hikes with The Nature Conservancy .  Birding is one of her biggest passions and loves to share that with others.  Her goal is to spread awareness of the natural environment in order to develop a deeper appreciation and love of the wilderness in hopes of conserving it.

Sarah Trudeau

Lead Field Staff

Trudy was raised in the Ojai Valley, finding growth within herself deep beneath the mud that swallowed her bare feet. The freedom to explore her environment, closely accompanied by her two goats, encouraged her youthful curiosities and confidence to flourish. This admiration and respect continued into her playful adulthood. She migrated North into the PNW, where she earned her B.S. in Biology while building a career in wildlife conservation and rehabilitation. During this time, she found the love and gift of education through her focus on public outreach at nearby schools. Seeing a similar excitement of our youth as they learned about the species they shared their environment with, beckoned that focus to grow. She decided to turn her efforts fully towards nourishing the connection between our youth and the preservation of our ecosystems. She has since returned to the Valley which first seeded this pursuit, where she is happily educating, climbing, birding, gardening, hiking and continuing to play!

With awareness, comes understanding. Respect and conservation quickly follow.”

Pamela Fetter

Assistant Field Staff

Pamela has been in love with nature since she was a small child. She grew up camping, hiking, and fishing all around the Western United States with her family. She was also involved in the girl scouts when she was young, learning outdoor skills and riding horses. Pamela is a single mother to a 12-yr-old boy, whom she has been taking out into nature since he was a baby. She is an ESL instructor at Ventura College and other institutes in the area, as well as a caterer and floral designer. She has been teaching English and ESL for 16 years and is happy that her love of education and the outdoors can now merge into one entity by teaching with Ventura Wild. During the times she is not busy working, exploring, or being a mom, she enjoys dancing, yoga, art, gastronomy, cinema, photography, writing, and kayaking. She is mostly excited about all that she does not know and is always looking forward to learning more, nurturing an innate curiosity about the world around her, which she strives to bring to the Ventura Wild program.

Tawnya Love

Youth Interns! These wonderfully talented teens are all past participants of Ventura Wild or the Wilderness Youth Project (our sister program in Santa Barbara).

We are honored and lucky to have them join us and be an incredible asset and support team.

Carly Leandro
Connor Greene

Joaquin Pearce

Alex Richardson
Keenan Porter
Lily Grant
Josh Cooper

Past Staff & Other Important People

  • Declan Blassini
  • CJ Cintas
  • Casey Murphy
  • Tessa Womack
  • Andrew Daigle
  • Trevor Cox
  • Jennifer Savage
  • Susan Lynn
  • Shawn Berry
  • David Parziale
  • Monika Rolstocki
  • Rita Maes
  • David White
  • Jeff Otterbien
  • Jessica Lindley
  • Anna Minsky
  • Venica Ftacek
  • Sara Benjamin
  • Camille Carlson
  • Suzen Harvey
  • Nash Rightmer
  • Brittany Cullen
  • Bridgit Banyai