The Topa Topa mountains in Ojai.
The Topa Topa mountains in Ojai.

About Us


Dave White, Project Coordinator and Teaching Staff, has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has been involved in numerous environmental groups in Ventura County for the past 20 years, including Keep the Sespe Wild and the Center for Regenerative Agriculture. Dave has also worked as the science teacher at Happy Valley School and is currently the garden coordinator for Food for Thought's Ojai Healthy Schools program. One of Dave's favorite things to do is to plant trees with kids.


Heather King, Project Coordinator and Teaching Staff, was shaped by a childhood of long walks in orange groves and playing in the Sespe Wilderness. She earned a Masters degree in Outdoor Education Administration and a Teaching Credential. Heather loves teaching in the outdoors and her focus is bringing children to an awareness of natural places and bringing that awareness into a place of connection, understanding and inspiration. She has two girls, Lily, and Delaney, and they are her best teachers yet!


Juna Rosales Muller grew up in Ojai. She graduated from Colorado College with a degree in place-based studies of the Southwest U.S., focusing on the field of political ecology. Juna has spent a lot of her recent life in the garden and wilderness with kids and teenagers in Colorado and California. When she's not out and about, you will find her in the kitchen making tacos and ice cream sandwiches. She is so excited to be on the OUW team and can't wait to explore her local watershed with kids!



Erin Marnocha, Project Director, is a biologist and educator who is deeply passionate about the protection and rehabilitation of healthy living systems. She also loves being able to offer children opportunities to increase awareness and deepen their connection to the natural world. She holds a Ph.D. in Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies but has learned most of what she knows by playing outside. She loves to dance, play in the mud, listen to the rain, and explore new places.


Gretchen Heine, Administrative Assistant, has a B.A. in Sustainable Community Development and a professional background in green business. Her love of nature stems from a childhood in Oregon but she thrives in the warm and sunny climate of Ojai. Gretchen enjoys creating opportunities for children to interact with the natural world and can be found camping with her family, running the trails, and spending time in her garden.


Susan Harvey, a fourth generation resident of Ojai, loves being involved in her community. Susan is a student of sociology, early childhood education, and environmental studies. She practices ecological design as proprietor of Blissful Earth, a small business selling jewelry and clothing made from recycled, remnant materials. Susan enjoys exploring nature, swimming, travel, riding motorcycles and bicycles, learning new things, spending time with her grandparents, dancing, and celebrating life.


Sara Brooke Benjamin is founder of both "Once Upon a Wetland" and "Once Upon a Watershed" and co-founder of "Ventura WILD!" Sara has a deep passion for the interconnected, interdependent nature of our whole earth system, especially that of the local-scale watershed. She holds a Master's degree in Marine Geochemistry and a Bachelor's degree in Earth Systems. Some of Sara's favorite pastimes are running through the woods, listening to birds, climbing on rocks, sleeping on the ground, storytelling, storylistening, and pretending to be a fish...


David White
Oak Grove School
220 Lomita Ave.
Ojai, CA 93023
dave@onceuponawatershed.org

Heather King
heather@onceuponawatershed.org

 

Staff
From left to right: Juna Muller, David White
and Heather King
Swimming in the Ventura River.
Pretending to be a fish in the Ventura River.
Golden Lupine.
Golden Lupine.
Transplanting smiles.
Transplanting.