Meet the Team

Staff Members

Heidi Anderson   (she/her/hers)

Executive Director

Heidi has five years of non-profit and programming experience serving as Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Eastern Oregon and the Panhandle Humane Society. She's incredibly passionate about TMPF's mission and her experience in managing educational programming helped the Students Stewards Program flourish since she began working here as AmeriCorps Program Director.

Elena Larsen   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Program Director

Elena served as a Naturalist Educator for TMPF in the spring and summer of 2018 and is now working as the Wetland Restoration Program Director.  She's a local and is extremely excited and proud to be working to restore an abandoned open space back to a functional ecosystem in her hometown.  In her free time, Elena can be found obsessing over dogs or participating in trivia nights.

Devin Sandoval de Genovese   (he/him/his)

Student Stewards Program Director

​Devin served nearly two years as a Naturalist Educator for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation before starting his position as Student Stewards Program Director. He is originally from Grass Valley, California. He received his B.A. in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.  In his free time, Devin enjoys riding mountain bikes and enjoying Nevada's great outdoors. Devin is excited to be a part of the TMPF team and hopes to inspire youth in the community through the SSP program. 

Hannah Lansverk Sonnenberg   (she/her/hers)

Student Stewards Program Manager

​Hannah is the Parks Foundation's Student Stewards Program Manager. She began her time here as an AmeriCorps Naturalist Educator in 2018. Originally from Bozeman, MT, she received her B.S. in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and has spent the last several years working for non-profits in Montana and Connecticut. Hannah is an avid birder and is looking forward to sharing her love of science and the natural world with her new community!

Chantel Dominguez   (she/her/hers)

Programs and Events Director

Chantel is our Programs and Events Director. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno and, after spending 4 years in Chicago, is thrilled to be back in Nevada promoting environmental sustainability and healthy lifestyles through her work with the Parks Foundation. In her free time, Chantel enjoys eating and cooking with friends, game nights, coffee, and exploring Nevada’s great outdoors.

Sarah Holcombe   (she/her/hers)

Development Director

Most recently living in Montana and originally from Oregon, Sarah is now planting her roots in Nevada. After receiving her degree in Public Relations and Business Administration from the University of Oregon, Sarah quickly found her passion leaned towards the nonprofit and development world working within animal welfare and sustainability - leading to a perfect fit here at Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. Sarah is excited to explore her new home with her hobbies of snowboarding, backpacking, gardening, and hanging with shelter dogs.  

AmeriCorps VISTA Members

@tmparksfoundation

Sara Monks   (she/her/hers)

VISTA Leader

Sara is serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader at Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. After earning her BA in English Studies from Illinois State University, she became passionate about giving back to communities across the country. In 2019, Sara served as a Corps Member with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and even her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. She also served as an AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity in 2020. She is absolutely thrilled to serve the Reno community and expand her explorations to the Western Region of the US!

Andrea Lesperance  (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Outreach Coordinator

Andrea is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences. She has previously worked in outdoor education and assisted with various restoration projects, and is thrilled to be at TMPF promoting environmental engagement through the development of the Nature Study Area. In her free time, Andrea enjoys reading, aerial acrobatics, and spending time outdoors. As a native Illinoisan, she is looking forward to exploring the many trails and open spaces of the Truckee Meadows area!

Camille Iannacchione   (she/her/hers)

Membership Coordinator

Camille is a native Nevadan who graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Camille describes herself as a lifelong learner! In college, she worked at the Sanford Center for Aging, where she became passionate about helping people age well. Now that Camille has taken on a new chapter with the Parks Foundation, she is excited to learn how to help people become environmental stewards, make healthy decisions and be mindful. When she's not serving, you can find this native buying a cactus, walking her dogs or enjoying the great outdoors. 

Chris Garrity   (he/him/his)

Nature Study Area Development Coordinator

Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Chris is our Nature Study Area Development Coordinator VISTA.  Chris received his B.A. from Colorado College in Ecology where he was also an active member of the swim team.  The opportunity to support the development efforts of the Nature Study Area fits perfectly with his strong interests in the intersection of land use, environmental equity, and climate change. In his free time, Chris is an avid hiker and looks forward to exploring the open spaces of the greater Reno-Tahoe area.

Cortney Arrington   (she/her/hers)

Resource Development Coordinator VISTA

Originally from California, Cortney attended the University of Nevada, Reno and completed her B.A. in both Sociology and Economics. After graduating, she moved to New Zealand for a year to experience life in a new place and spend time in nature. Cortney is excited to be back in Reno and to serve as the Resource Development Coordinator for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. In her free time she enjoys hiking, photography, and exploring all of the wonderful outdoor and community spaces that Reno has to offer. 

Haley Grable   (she/her/hers)

Student Stewards Program Outreach Coordinator 

Haley (she/her) just graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Cognitive Science and is now serving as the SSP Outreach Coordinator at Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation in Reno. She believes that education should be engaging, inclusive, and accessible to all, so she is excited to promote scientific exploration in our local parks. In her free time, Haley enjoys hiking, playing the guitar, skating, and making wontons with her grandma.

Jacqui Keating   (she/her/hers)

Programs and Events Coordinator 

Jacqui earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno and is currently pursuing an M.S in Environmental Policy. She is thrilled to join the team at TMPF and prioritizes serving her community. Jacqui has always felt comfortable in the outdoors and looks forward to connecting others to the outdoors through the Healthy Parks, Healthy People programs. She is passionate about protecting our open spaces and bridging the gap between people and their natural environment.

Rachel Carroll   (she/her/hers)

Communications Coordinator

Rachel, a lifelong Reno/Sparks local, grew up with a love of rocks, nature, and outer space. Inspired by NASA's work in exogeology, she went to Truckee Meadows Community College to earn an Associate of Science, Geoscience Emphasis degree. Though she has interest in other worlds, she has dedicated herself to improving this one by working with local non-profit organizations on social media outreach projects to help get the word out about the great things these groups accomplish. Rachel also runs her own small business and in her free time enjoys collecting minerals, video games, and spoiling her corgi.

Samantha Orahood   (she/her/hers)

Health and Wellness Education Coordinator

Samantha is from Washington State and received her BA in Recreation from Western Washington University. She has spent time all over the US working as a guide in paddling, hiking, backpacking, wilderness therapy and more. In her free time she loves spending time in the outdoors, climbing, backpacking, hiking, and looking at plants.

Spencer Cox   (he/him/his)

Community Engagement Coordinator

Spencer is thrilled to be serving as TMPF’s Community Engagement Coordinator. Spencer graduated from Colorado State University in 2019 with a B.A. in Communication Studies as well as a double minor in History and French. In his free time, Spencer loves recreating outside and seeks to share that passion with others. Depending on the season, you can find him skiing, climbing, trail running or mountain biking on the many wonderful trails around Reno. Spencer values community engagement and encourages all community members to take advantage of all the amazing parks and trails in the Truckee Meadows area! 

AmeriCorps State/National Members

AmeriCorps State/National Members

Alex Shahbazi   (he/him/his)

Parks Project Coordinator 

As Parks Project Coordinator with TMPF, Alex is thrilled to help protect and connect people to the Truckee Meadows' natural and outdoor spaces. Originally from the wilds of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Alex completed a B.A. in Physics at Lawrence University before most recently spending over two years as an educator at a zoo in Chicago. Besides nature and the outdoors, Alex's greatest passions are puns, pie, and yelling at soccer players on TV.

Caitlin Amburgey   (she/her/hers)

Community Programs Educator 

Caitlin is a Reno native and recent graduate of UNR. She is very excited to be serving as a Community Programs Educator and looks forward to gaining experience in interpretation while learning about the great Truckee Meadows. She has worked for several non-profits and served as an AmeriCorps member many times. When not serving the community, Caitlin enjoys running and outdoor leisure.

Cara Schaefer   (she/her/hers)

Community Programs Educator

Originally from Findlay, Ohio, Cara studied political science at the Ohio State University and is excited to spend some time out west while serving as a Community Programs Educator for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation. She has previously worked in the outdoor industry as a backcountry caretaker, outdoor educator, interpretive ranger, and outreach intern for the podcast Out There. In her free time you can find her reading, hiking, exploring new national parks, and being distracted by cute animals. 

Colleen Searcy   (she/her/hers)

Naturalist Educator

Colleen graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Zoology and is originally from Chicago. She is thrilled to get more experience as an environmental educator with the Parks Foundation and hopes to continue working as a teacher after her service term. In her free time, she is usually making art or caring for her rabbits.

Danny Whitaker   (he/him/his)

Naturalist Educator

After his Peace Corps term in Guyana was cut short, Danny was drawn to continue serving with the Parks Foundation in Reno. Danny has a degree in Geography from the University of Arizona and is excited to share his passion for nature with people visiting our parks. When he's not learning more about conservation, Danny loves to go hiking and camping.

Ethan Lopes   

Naturalist Educator 

Ethan grew up in Nevada's capital, Carson City, and recently graduated from Williams College with degrees in Astrophysics and Geosciences. He is passionate about showing how STEAM is accessible and attainable for students of all backgrounds, so when he came across the Parks Foundation, he knew it was the perfect fit. When not writing lesson plans, he enjoys backpacking, volunteering with refugee advocacy organizations, and playing chess.

Kayleigh Dearstyne-Hulin   (she/her/hers)

Naturalist Educator 

Originally from New York, Kayleigh recently graduated from the University of St Andrews in Scotland with degrees in International Relations and Sustainable Development. She looks forward to nurturing community engagement through natural education and park exploration. Outside of work, Kayleigh can be found trying new recipes and looking for Nevada's native plants!

Keaton Aldrich   (she/her/hers)

Naturalist Educator 

Keaton is so excited to be starting a new adventure in Reno. She just moved here from Alaska and is enjoying all the parks, trails, and natural spaces Reno has to offer. When she is not designing scientific journals for the Student Stewards Program, Keaton likes to play the flute and go kayaking.

Kristina Lee   (she/her/hers)

Naturalist Educator 

Kristina is from Folsom, California, but is quickly learning to call Reno home! She graduated from CSU Monterey Bay with a degree in Environmental Studies. She is looking forward to strengthening the community's connection to nature and quality of life. If you're looking for her, Kristina is probably playing guitar, hanging out with her dog, or exploring a body of water.

Leela Ruiz   

Naturalist Educator 

A Reno local, Leela studied Wildlife Ecology & Conservation at UNR. She just completed an AmeriCorps service term with Great Basin Institute as a trail crew member and is looking forward to teaching STEAM lessons to children and continuing to make our amazing open spaces accessible.

Rachel Dunn   (she/her/hers)

Naturalist Educator

A St. Louis local, Rachel recently graduated from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale with a B.S. in Plant Biology and Horticulture and a minor in Environmental Studies. She is excited to be in a state that's not a prairie and looks forward to developing her skills as a naturalist with TMPF and the Reno community! Along with being outdoors, Rachel's interests include quilting, reading, and playing video games. 

Susanna Keilig

Nature Center Host/Interpreter

Originally from New Hampshire, Susanna recently moved out to Stateline from Boston. After graduating from Roger Williams University with a focus in Marine Biology, Susanna has gained the majority of her professional outdoor experiences on large sailing ships. In total, she has spent 15 months of her life thus far living aboard tall ships. In her free time, Susanna loves to eat breakfast foods, read outside in her hammock, and play with her big fluffy cat.  She is looking forward to learning more about wetland ecosystems and getting the public excited about them too!

AmeriCorps Wetland Restoration Technicians

Rachel Kieffer   (she/her/hers)

Lead Wetland Restoration Technician

Rachel is originally from Los Angeles and graduated from Goucher College in 2018 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a Concentration in Environmental Science and Minor in Biological Sciences.  Rachel has previously served in the area with Nevada Conservation Corps as part of their Trail Crew program as well as with Arizona Conservation Corps and the Watershed Stewards Program in California.  She is excited to be part of an organization that is community-based and is excited for the future opportunities that the restored wetland will provide for the area.

Angela Petrice   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Angela is a recent graduate from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Management and a minor in Geospatial Analysis. She has previously participated in a variety of research projects pertaining to wildlife populations across California. This research ranges from assessing the impacts of climate change on small mammals within desert ecosystems to understanding the spatial distribution of Shorebirds along the Northern California coastline. Angela is an avian enthusiast and aspiring ornithologist, who in her free-time can often be found birding. She is incredibly eager to apply the knowledge she has gained to assist in the restoration of the wetland within the Nature Study Area, providing a space which local wildlife and community members can equally enjoy.

Ben Parry-Lemon  (he/him/his)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Ben is from Indiana and graduated from DePauw University with a B.A. in Environmental Biology. He has previously served another AmeriCorps term on a land restoration project in Nevada based more in the desert ecosystem so he is looking forward to learning about the wetland ecosystems here in Reno. In his free time, he can be found going on hikes and exploring the local restaurant scene so he can't wait to see what all that the greater Reno area has to offer.

Camille Verendia   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Camille recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Coming from a land of eternal sunshine, Camille is thrilled to finally experience all four seasons here in Reno. As an AmeriCorps Wetland Restoration Technician, she is eager to learn about the Northern Nevada ecosystem and to create an easily accessible place for the community to engage with nature. In her free time, Camille loves to read and run, and can’t wait to check out Reno’s local bookstores and trails.

Elizabeth Ott-Bales   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Arts in Geological and Environmental Science from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and has just joined our team as an AmeriCorps Wetland Restoration Technician.  She hopes that this position will set her up for her dream career of being a parks ranger.  On the weekends she enjoys going on hikes, sitting and observing nature, skiing, sailing, and taking her cat for walks in his stroller. 

James Hada   (he/him/his)

Wetland Restoration Technician

James is a recent graduate of Colorado State’s Warner College where he majored in Conservation Biology. He is passionate about plant ID and ecological data collection and analysis. James is looking forward to learning about the ecology in the Truckee River Watershed, managing invasive species in the proposed Nature Study Area, and conducting ecological surveys. In his free time, James enjoys rock climbing and playing chess.

Nicole Rovai   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Originally from California, Nicole has called Reno home for the last 10 years. She earned her B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Nevada, Reno and wanted to continue her career in the Reno area and give back to the local community. She is thrilled to be serving as an AmeriCorps Wetland Restoration Technician for Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation and can't wait to share the proposed Nature Study Area with the community. She is passionate about the environment and adopting a sustainable mentality in the Reno community through education and outreach for everyone! When she isn't in the wetland you can find her hiking with her dog, trying new foods, or hanging out with friends outdoors.

Peter Jordan    (he/him/his)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Peter is a recent graduate from Randolph-Macon College in Richmond Virginia. He majored in Environmental Studies with a focus in biology. Peter is very interested in water quality research and Green Stormwater Infrastructure. In his free time, Peter likes to go hiking, painting, drawing, and playing sports.

Ryan Turner   (he/him/his)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Ryan grew up in northern California and graduated from California State University, Chico, where he studied ecology with an emphasis in vegetation ecology. Prior to this, he had a short stint doing habitat restoration in Colorado before getting shut down due to COVID. He’s excited to be at TMPF helping to restore the proposed Nature Study Area as well as engage with the community and other non profits in the area. He enjoys whitewater kayaking and backpacking in his free time.

Sadie Smith   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Sadie is from Vermont, but has spent much of her life traveling as much as she can to see all the wonders of the world. She grew up mushing dogs and playing sports in New England, but took her education abroad to attend high school in Quebec. After finishing high school in Canada and graduating from Eckerd College in Florida, with a degree in Biology, she is now an Americorps member and Wetland Restoration Tech at the proposed Nature Study Area. New to the West Coast, Sadie is looking forward to exploring the mountains and the desert and finding all the creepy-crawly friends in beautiful Nevada.

Sequoyah Pollard   (she/her/hers)

Wetland Restoration Technician

Sequoyah is originally from California. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where she received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and minor in Native American and  Indigenous Studies. She is passionate about environmental justice, sustainability and the opportunity to serve as a Wetland Restoration Technician to restore the proposed Study Area to allow for greater access and awareness of the importance of wetlands. In her free time Sequoyah enjoys running, teaching marching band and continuing her zero waste journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Board of Directors

Sarah Chvilicek, President

As a past Regional Parks and Open Space Commissioner, Sarah has always advocated for parks and open space in the greater Truckee Meadows. She currently serves on  both the Washoe County Planning Commission and Regional Planning Commission where she still advocates for parks and open space as important elements as they relate to regional planning issues. 

Dawn Smith, Vice President

Dawn moved to Reno from Washington State for a job with Renown. She enjoys hiking and exploring new areas. Dawn is thankful for the opportunity to get to know and be involved in education and stewardship of the local open spaces. She is a past AmeriCorps VISTA member through the Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (R.A.R.E) in Oregon. Dawn previously worked with natural resource agencies to help document and preserve habitat in her role as G.I.S. Coordinator of Wallowa County. 

David von Seggern, Treasurer

David is retired from the UNR Nevada Seismological Laboratory after a career in seismology.  His last career position was as the seismic network manager for the Yucca Mountain Project, which seeks to make Nevada the repository of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste.  He served as treasurer for the Seismological Society of America for nine years.  David acquired an appreciation of our natural heritage as a college-aged spelunker in Missouri.  He is a past chair of the Executive Committee of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, is a frequent hike leader in the Truckee Meadows area, and loves to explore Nevada’s remotest places. 

David Jickling

David Jickling is a lifelong birder and passionate advocate for the outdoors. He has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan and moved to Nevada with his wife Debbie in 1990. In 1994 David was appointed to the Wildlife Commission by Governor Miller, and served on the commission as the conservation representative until 2000. He has also served as president of the Lahontan Audubon Society and leads field trips and teaches the introductory class of the very popular birds of the Truckee Meadows series.

Sophia Kirschenman

Sophia is a native Nevadan who grew up exploring the many outdoor wonders of the Truckee Meadows and the Sierra Nevada. She is dedicated to protecting our wildlands and connecting communities by creating shared outdoor spaces. After getting her master’s degree in international environmental policy and living for a handful of years in Colorado and California, she is excited to be back in her hometown, working as a park planner for Washoe County and serving on the Parks Foundation's Board of Directors. 

Tina Nappe

Tina is a long time supporter of parks in Washoe County and Reno. She has served on multiple nonprofit boards within our community and is happy to lend her expertise to furthering the mission of Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation.

Katie Palani

Born and raised in Reno, Katie graduated twice from UNR, and has worked with or for many community enterprises, including Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, the Reno News and Review, the UNR special collections library, and local tutoring centers. Katie went to her first Discover Your Parks walk in 2017 to check out the Sierra Vista Future Park Site in her neighborhood and find out if the development would include a bike park. In addition to a yes on the bike park, she was surprised to find a non-profit that matched her enthusiasm in shared open spaces, community relevance and stewardship. Coming from a large Reno family, Katie has always felt a deep connection to place, story and building community here in the Truckee Meadows. Now a single mom with two kids, Katie is happy to be back in Reno, delving into our open spaces, exploring playgrounds, interpretive centers and hiking trails. And, she’s passionate about helping other young families do the same. As one of the younger, more active members of TMPF, Katie wants to share her love of experiencing the outdoors with children to the group, helping to inform decisions about family programming and using her extensive social network in the area to form lasting relationships with members of our 
community.

Nate Tippie

Nate Tippie is an entrepreneur, product designer, and longtime Parks Foundation supporter. After selling his accounting backup software to Intuit, he joined them as a Product Manager for QuickBooks Online. He studied Finance and Film at the University of Georgia, where he also served as a judge for the Peabody Awards. Nate has been a volunteer, member, sustaining member, and Doggie Ambassador before becoming a board member. He enjoys yoga, camping, and aviation, and lives in Midtown with his dogs, Bennie and Luna.

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Protecting & enhancing our communities' livability through public engagement, education, and the sustainability of our parks, open spaces, and trails.

 

50 Cowan Drive, Reno, NV 89509 | (775) 410-1702 

info@tmparksfoundation.org