Foothill Horizons - Outdoor Education



The staff of Foothill Horizons is a dynamic group of people from throughout California and beyond. We pride ourselves on creating a safe and positive outdoor experience.


Current Staff

Principal: Jess Hewitt
Assistant Director: Diann Rastetter
Administrative Assistant: Shay Kaye
Nurse: Bette Blumenstein
Student Dorm Assistant: Gabriel
Kitchen staff: Rich, Juan, Jandy & Jim
Bus and luggage drivers: Phoebe, Linda, Ralph, Hal, Craig, Glenn & Joel
Health Clerk: Brianna
Naturalists: Josh, Allison, Korena, Sarah, Amy, Gabe
Naturalist interns: Marissa, Emma, Eric, Tyler & Chelsea
Maintenance/Custodial: Mike, Billy, Ralph & Leonard


Meet the Permanent Staff

Jess Hewitt, Principal
In fall, 2014, Jess stepped up as principal after ten years of working at Foothill Horizons. She started as a naturalist intern in 2003, and worked as a permanent naturalist from 2004-2014. She also spent three summers using her imagination and creativity while working as a naturalist for Foothill Horizons Summer Camp. Jess continued to develop her teaching skills by earning a multiple subject teaching credential with CSU Fresno. This valuable perspective and study allowed her to start co-leading the internship program in 2010. Soon after she went back to school to complete an administrative credential in Educational Leadership. These experiences prepared her for her new position as Director of Foothill Horizons.  She looks forward to leading Foothill Horizons Outdoor School into a new era.
Diann, Assistant Director
Diann grew up cherishing the time she spent in her big backyard in northeastern Ohio, which led her to go seek a degree in Environmental Education, Communication and Interpretation. She moved to California in 1997. She spent 17 years working at and managing a residential Outdoor Science School program in the San Bernardino Mountains, then spent the last two years as the Naturalist Intern Coordinator at Sierra Outdoor School in Sonora. She is now the Assistant Director here at Foothill Horizons and is thrilled to be part of a passionate, experienced staff in such a beautiful location! Some things she likes to do: snowboard! make gourd art and drums, visit family and her wonderful nieces, mountain bike, hike, learn, laugh, and she also enjoys finding ways to make people smile. This year, she looks forward to making a difference in the lives of the students, counselors and teachers that visit Foothill Horizons and will strive to provide each of them with a positive memorable experience here in this very special place.
gabe Gabe, Naturalist
Gabe was born and raised in the cozy confines of upstate New York.  His childhood was chock-full of the outdoors, from early camping trips in the backyard with Dad to skiing on towering 800-foot slopes at the local hill.  Since studying at the University of Virginia, Gabe has worked, lived and traveled all over the world.  Aside from community organizing in San Diego and international development in India, he has facilitated experiential and environmental education programs in El Salvador, Israel, Colorado, the Sierra Foothills, and the San Francisco Bay Area.  Gabe is an avid skier and hiker, and has come a long way since bringing just a bag of crunchberries as his only food on his first backpacking trip.  Gabe is uber-excited to be back at Foothill Horizons, learning with and from the next generation of conservation stewards and outdoor enthusiasts.  Also, he loves carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.
Korena Korena, Naturalist
Korena can’t remember a time when she didn’t love being outside. Her love of nature and the outdoors led naturally to a bachelors degree in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Two amazing outdoor education programs in Korena's senior year of college began her journey as a naturalist. The first was a quarter spent studying tropical biology in Costa Rica and the second was a quarter of backpacking and studying the natural history of the mountains of California. Korena was a Naturalist Intern at Foothill Horizons in 2001-2002, and became a full time Naturalist at the school in 2004. In 2013 she was honored to be named the Northern California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education's Naturalist Of The Year. She loves to explore new ecosystems and feels blessed that she gets to help others do so for a living.
Sarah Sarah, Naturalist
Sarah developed a love for nature while growing up in the
foothill community of Paradise, California. As a youngster, Sarah enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities with her family and friends, including camping at Lake Almanor and hiking at Lassen Volcanic National Park. After finishing college, she took some time off to explore parts of Central America, Asia and Europe. While Sarah always knew that she wanted to teach in some capacity, it wasn’t until she returned from her travels that she decided to pursue a career in outdoor education. Sarah has been working at Foothill since 2008. In her free time Sarah enjoys playing basketball, reading, hiking, backpacking, traveling and dancing.
Brianna Brianna, Health Clerk
Brianna loves exploring and playing in natural environments. She has had the opportunity to learn from a variety of collaborative, outdoor jobs that have allowed her to work on salmon habitat in the backwoods of Maine, teach primitive living skills in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, and research threatened garter snakes in the central valley of California. After focusing on biology and experiential education in college, Brianna was thrilled to join the dedicated Foothill Horizons staff as a naturalist intern in 2012. Working as a naturalist and health clerk, Brianna is most excited to make outdoor education available to all students. When she is not working with 6th graders, Brianna enjoys back-country hiking, wildlife research, books on tape, and dancing.


Meet the Naturalist-Interns

Emma spent much of her childhood climbing trees, getting messy, and generally loving outdoor adventures. She was lucky to live among the lakes and parks of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and traveled frequently to the northern Minnesota wilderness for camping trips. This love for the outdoors led her to study Biology at St. Olaf College with hopes of find ways to help connect people to nature and science. She spent the last year working and learning at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in southeast Minnesota and is thrilled to continue her adventure in California at Foothill Horizons!
Tyler is native to Mansfield, Texas. He received a degree in Wildlife Biology from Texas Tech University. Before coming to Foothill Horizons, he worked at an environmental education center as a Teacher/Naturalist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tyler has also worked as an educator at a science museum, wildlife rehabilitation center, and various summer programs. Tyler enjoys backpacking, birding, fishing, ice hockey, and reading.
Marissa has worked with students in outdoor classrooms in a variety of settings. During the summer of 2016, she was a sea kayak guide for Rippleffect in Maine, where she led 12 to 16 year old students on 5-day outdoor education adventures. She has also worked as the assistant coordinator for the Outdoor Orientation Program at College of the Atlantic. In this position, Marissa led and wrote curriculum for a counselor training program in addition to facilitating 5-day excursions into the natural areas of Maine. Marissa has also worked as a clown in an outdoor circus in Canada, where she entertained audiences of all ages. Marissa is excited to join the team of naturalists at Foothill Horizons Outdoor School!
Chelsea grew in Potsdam, a small town in the farthest reaches of northern New York. After going to college for Animal Science and Biology at Cornell, she began slowly making her way across the country, accumulating a variety of outdoor experiences and jobs along the way. After doing trail work, she went to an outdoor education program in Wisconsin where she taught classes such as campfire cooking, ecology and baking science, in which students learned that chemistry is fun when you get to eat your experiments. Throughout her life she has had lots of opportunities to spend time outside in many different ecosystems. She is excited to be at Foothill Horizons, where she can share her love of purposeful wandering around in the woods with a new group of students.
Eric grew up in one of the greatest cities on Earth – Cleveland, Ohio. Since graduating from Miami University with a degree in Social Studies Education, Eric has worked as a teacher, a field instructor for a wilderness therapy program and a park ranger at Crater Lake National Park. He loves to hike, camp, play banjo and geek out at large tree stumps. Eric couldn't be more excited to be sharing his love of nature with students coming to Foothill Horizons.