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About Us . Our Staff

Photos Donated by Timothy Teague Photography


David White 

Program Director

David has a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Ph.D. in Medicine from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Since 1988 he has worked with numerous environmental groups in Ventura County including the Keep the Sespe Wild Committee, the Center for Regenerative Agriculture, Food for Thought Ojai, the Captain Planet Foundation and the Ojai Valley Green Coalition. David has directed Once upon a Watershed since 2010 and in 2020 brought the Oaktober initiative to Ventura County. With a focus on connecting children to nature, one of David's favourite things to do is to plant trees with kids.

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Sara MacCracken

Assistant Director

Sara has been passionate about children and nature as far back as she can remember. She has an M.A. in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University. It was here that she first heard about Wilderness Therapy and took the idea with her into the different settings she worked. She helped develop and run a program for at-risk youth in Longmont, Co. and took young adults to Central America doing service projects throughout the area. Sara has studied edible and medicinal plants for the past 25 years. She currently lives in Ojai with her two sons and husband. She is very happy to be bringing education to the schools about our precious watershed.

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Heather King 


Heather is a professional outdoor educator and mentor with over 30 years of wilderness education experience.   With a Masters in Outdoor Education Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, she continues to seek new insight and knowledge of nature, kids and self.  Her broad range of leadership and teaching experiences include many programs around the country and internationally that continues to teach the role that nature has on our well-being as individuals, neighbors and caretakers. In addition to being a lead educator for Once upon a Watershed Heather is writing and illustrating children's books. These are heartfelt professions for Heather, who is committed to fostering a playful sense of discovery and wonder that leads to curiosity about life and learning. You will continue to find her out on the trails and in the creeks, usually a bit muddy if possible.

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Maegen Anderson Phaneuf

Program Coordinator


Maegen has a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Spanish; a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate; and a Permaculture Design certificate. Forever fascinated with the world's diverse cultures and natural landscapes, she spent a decade traveling internationally, where she taught English and studied sustainable agriculture and ecology. She feels very fortunate to call the Ojai Valley home once again, and has enjoyed working as an environmental educator and now in admin. She is passionate about environmental justice and greatly appreciates that OUW works tirelessly to bring environmental education and hands-on experience to youth of all backgrounds. She spends her free time exploring the great outdoors with her own kids as much as possible.

"To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together." - Barry Lopez


Heather Kubic



Heather has a B.S. in Zoology from University of California at Santa Barbara and a M.A. in Biology Secondary Education. While participating in AmeriCorps*NCCC Heather learned the importance of preserving our natural environment and teaching future generations how small acts of kindness can go a long way. She has taught historical and environmental programs throughout Ventura County. Water, nature, and fitness have been integral components of Heather’s upbringing. Through education and adventure Heather enjoys the opportunity to share the wonders of nature and to assist with the preservation of our watershed.


Jenny Jacobs


Jenny grew up in west Sonoma County, CA and spent most of her childhood outdoors, running around with chickens and sheep and adventuring in a nearby creek. She studied environmental science and music at UC Santa Cruz, and fell in love with tropical biology after studying in Costa Rica. She spent many years studying ecology and tropical insects in Central and South America, obtaining her M.S. and then embarking on a doctoral program. Part-way into a PhD program, she realized that she preferred exploring nature and teaching, rather than studying nature in an academic context. Ever since, she has dedicated herself to environmental education and speaking Spanish. Jenny is a bilingual educator for OUW and loves to connect children and families to nature. She is also very passionate about developing bilingual nature connection and education programs, and making these programs accessible to all members of the local community. When not working with Once upon a Watershed, Jenny can be found wrangling her own kiddos, swimming, tending plants, or chasing bugs.  


Cyrus Mayer


Cyrus is a young man dedicated to the healing of the earth and the future generations. He is a land worker, farmer, educator, and water protector. Cyrus is certified in Advanced Permaculture with a specialty in social forestry and watershed management  Cyrus is currently living in Ojai, CA, where he is working on a habitat restoration project and food forest to protect native plants and animals, and provide fresh food and medicine for the local community. As a new employee of Once Upon A Watershed, Cyrus plans to share his commitment to the protection of our local ecosystems with the young generations to come.

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