Sarah Slabaugh, LATO Program Assistant and Oak Ambassador Wildlife Team Coach

Sarah’s Oak Ambassador Team: Sophia, Bailey and Mattie

72465_1713959051534_1314924444_1828372_7415338_nHi, I’m Sarah Slabaugh, a senior at Cal Poly, majoring in Liberal Studies, with a minor in biology, seeking to become an elementary school teacher. My love for teaching and the outdoors began at a very young age, and has only grown since. In junior high, I had the opportunity to travel to both Yosemite and Catalina for a week and learn about California’s diverse environments. Furthermore, I have worked in outdoor, recreational summer camps the past few summers, only giving me more experience outside with children. My love for adventure varies from snow skiing all the way to surfing and wake-boarding. Overall, I just enjoy spending my time with the people I care about in this beautiful place we get to call home.

Trisha Huynh, LATO Program Intern and Oak Ambassador Earth Sciences Team Coach

Trisha’s Oak Ambassador Team: Kendall, Lyndee and Jessianne
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Trisha Huynh boiling tiger bones at Cal Poly. This was part of the job for the tiger re-articulation project.

Hi everyone! My name is Trisha Huynh and I very recently graduated from Cal Poly SLO. My favorite outdoor education experience was getting to go to Yosemite in the 8th grade to hike the trails and learn all about the plants and animals that lived there! That’s when I first knew I really liked science, and now, years later, you can find me researching jellyfish in the San Francisco Estuary, putting together a tiger skeleton for Cal Poly, or helping students discover the wonders of science at LATO!

Elizabeth Saldo, LATO Program Intern and Oak Ambassador Native Plants and People Team Coach

(Elizabeth is also a volunteer for the Wildlife Camera Team and is in her third year of service for Learning Among the Oaks.)

Elizabeth’s Oak Ambassador Team: Mitchell, Natasha, and Emily
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Elizabeth holding a sand crab.

Hi, I’m Elizabeth Saldo, a Cal Poly senior studying biology. I was inspired to major in biological sciences by my high school biology teacher. One of my fondest outdoor experiences involved hiking high up a mountain in Mesa Verde National Park, where we listened to a Native American play the flute and sing; the notes of the flute and the ancient language echoed beautifully across the canyon. If I could be a child again, I would want to be 4: the age when I was overcome with wonder and curiosity for the natural world. I am so excited to be working directly with the Oak Ambassadors!

Meghan Perfect, LATO Program Assistant and Oak Ambassador Wildlife Team Coach

Meghan’s Oak Ambassador Team: Emma, Sadie and Sarah
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Meghan working with her Oak Ambassador team to learn about rattlesnake adaptions.


Meghan once licked a banana slug to learn about their adaptations!

Hi, I’m Meghan Perfect, a 4th year Cal Poly liberal studies major hoping to become an elementary school teacher. In 5th grade I was able to go to an overnight outdoor school at Camp Arroyo and then later had to privilege to serve as a counselor for a similar program at Walker Creek Ranch. I loved going on hikes and learning about all of the organisms (we even licked a banana slug to learn about their adaptations!). I am so excited to be working with the Oak Ambassadors this quarter and to learn even more about the amazing oaks and the organisms past and present that make their home along the trail.

Ryan Russell, LATO Program Wildlife Education Intern and Chief Deputy Nature Detective

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Ryan Russell and Oak Ambassador Elizabeth teaching on the trail (3rd grade adaptations hike) in May 2014. This is Ryan’s second year of LATO service.

Howdy! I’m Ryan Russell and I am a 4th year biology major at Cal Poly. I have a passion for trying to understand the world we live in which has caused me to develop a love and appreciation for science and nature. I hope to follow the example of great naturalists like John Muir by dedicating my time and energy to exploring, protecting, and sustaining the diversity of life around us. Some of my happiest memories were formed on yearly family summer vacations to Sequoia, walking the same gorgeous trails that John Muir helped to preserve. I’m thrilled to have the honor of applying the coolest title of all time, Chief Deputy Nature Detective, to myself this year as I attempt to produce Nature Challenges tricky enough to fool such smart students. Best of luck young detectives! You’re gonna need it.


Here’s Ryan on the S.S. Royden Nakamura deep sea fishing for his Cal Poly ichthyology class this fall.

Elaina Cromer, LATO Program Nature and Ranching Education Intern 


Elaina (on R) with reindeer in Alaska where she was a Summer 2014 intern with the University of Alaska Reindeer Research Program.

Hi friends! I’m Elaina Cromer. As a kid I remember spending many days at Glen Helen, an outdoor camp in Ohio. I would do everything from night hikes in search of nocturnal species to walking blindfolded through the pine forest in order to learn to use all of my senses. Through working towards a Bachelor’s in Animal Science at Cal Poly, many of these childhood adventures have solidified into a dream to draw our culture back to the outdoors. I am proud to be working with Oak Ambassadors as they begin to pursue similar passions in their lives!