Meet Our Staff
Kent comes to Effie Yeaw Nature Center with more than 20 years of experience with non-profit organizations, including 2.5 years as Executive Director with the Putah Creek Council, and management-level time with STAR Education and the STAR Ecostation Exotic Animal Rescue and Children’s Museum, Sierra Nevada Journeys Outdoor School, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County and a wide range of other education and conservation focused non-profits, as well as experience with the California Department of Fish and Game and the Sacramento Zoological Society. Among other things, he has expertise in program development, special event coordination and management, community relations, and grant writing. Kent has served on the boards of several environmental non-profits, including the Wildlife Care Association, and has a wide range of certification, including previously as an Emergency Medical Technician with Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services and is a UC Certified Naturalist. As an avid outdoorsman and hiker, Kent has spent many days and nights outdoors throughout California, including 11 summers as a camp staffer for the Boys Scouts of America, exploring natural places and building his first-hand knowledge of and passion for all that nature has to offer. A lifelong learner, he approaches new learning opportunities with a passion and excitement and is always on the lookout for new occasions to expand his knowledge and experience. Kent’s three dogs and many rescued exotic animals keep he and his partner busy, along with outdoor activities and visits to museums and parks throughout the west.
Lead Naturalist/Lead Instructor (UCNP)
Brena Seck has been a naturalist at Effie Yeaw Nature Center since 1999. After graduating from University of California C Davis with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology she briefly worked as a field biologist but yearned for a place where she could be around wildlife and have people to talk to. She discovered the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and it was the right fit! Brena leads the Maidu Cultural Programs during the school year, and enjoys being a nature camp leader over the summer, especially when she takes the campers fishing and rafting! Brena is also the coordinator and lead instructor for the UC California Naturalist Certification Course offered at Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
Since early childhood, Kristen has been incredibly fascinated by all animals, constantly asking her parents to take her to zoos and museums so she could learn more. When Kristen was living in the Bay Area as a child, their neighbors called her family “The Doolittles” because they always had a variety of animals in their home! Kristen is currently studying Wildlife Biology, Zoology, and plans on continuing her education in Marine Biology. She has held several animal-related volunteer positions throughout her life and began volunteering at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in early 2018. She quickly fell in love with the animals, the nature, and the people and was honored to accept the opportunity to join this amazing team in August. On top of being an animal lover, Kristen is also a huge prehistoric animal nerd! And in her free time she loves to play ukulele, visit museums, read, take her dogs to the river, and travel anywhere and everywhere she can. Kristen says “I love exploring the nature, history, and culture of new places and sharing the knowledge with the people around me!”
Sara grew up with a love and fascination with nature and all the amazing species that live in it. That love was paired with respect and a desire to do all she could to safeguard the natural world. It wasn’t until taking an environmental science course in community college that she realized she wanted to pursue a study and career in the environmental field. Sara received her BA at the University of CA Los Angeles in Environmental Studies/Geography and recently graduated from New York University with an MA in Environmental Conservation Education. During her time in New York City, she interned as an environmental educator at Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s Environmental Education Center, the American Museum of Natural History, and More Gardens! Fund. After moving back to California, Sara found a new home, closer to family, in East Sacramento where she also found a place at Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and she has been loving it ever since.
Dani has always had a natural curiosity for the world around her. As a kid, she was always finding critters in the dirt and learning about the environment hands-on. As an adult, looking at dirt remains a favorite pastime, but now she’s able to share her knowledge with the world at Effie Yeaw Nature Center! Dani is currently enrolled in a Master’s program to earn a teaching credential, and her true passion lies in exploring the intersection of science and art in education. In her free time, you can find her hugging her dog, relaxing outside, or dancing with various flow props.
As a lifelong learner, Hannah has always loved exploring new ideas and places! She is a history, science and nature enthusiast who loves to read and learn about as much as she can. She also enjoys sharing what she has learned with others and is a strong advocate of hands-on education. Hannah graduated from CSU, Sacramento in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. After spending some time in the museum field as an educator, Hannah decided to shift her focus from STEAM to general nature education. She loves being outdoors and experiencing nature, and is excited for the opportunity to further explore her passion for the environment and love of animals!
Animal Care Staff
Animal Care Specialist
Jackie began as a volunteer in animal care and loved it so much that she joined the team in 2015. Jackie can be found at the Nature Center on weekdays and some weekends handling animals and educating visitors about how these educational ambassadors came to live with us.
Renée DeLu Covey
Animal Care Specialist
Renée began volunteering at the nature center in 2016 due to her fascination and passion for animals. Her time volunteering deepened her interest in our local wildlife. After volunteering over 1,000 hours at the nature center, she joined the staff at the beginning of 2018. At the same time, she began courses for becoming a certified California Naturalist, which she did at the end of the year. She adores continuing to learn about our amazing animals and can be seen at the nature center at the beginning of the week, caring for the animals and sharing information about them with anyone who will listen.
A native of Queens, New York, Rudy moved to California with his mother and brothers. Rudy is a ten year US Army Veteran, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Project Management, from American InterContinental University. Rudy started working for EYNC over 15 years ago. He is proud to still be here and, like Effie Yeaw was known for, using nature to teach our youth how to flourish in our society. Rudy respects what Effie stands for, and other than the preserve being here, he says it reminds him of Central Park in New York, and he loves it here. Rudy says ”Nature, my parents and the NY neighborhood taught me Humility, Love, and Peace, and how we can use it to teach each other with a passion.”
Heather worked as a zookeeper for several years before joining the staff at Effie Yeaw. During that time, her love of animals and nature deepened. With that came a passion for conservation. She is grateful that her work at the Nature Center allows her to educate the public about the important role they play in protecting the planet and all of its inhabitants.
Kimberly grew up in Folsom, California, earned her Bachelors Degree in Art Studio at Sac State University and then moved, spending many years living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Bellevue, Washington. In 2015 she moved back to Sacramento and took a job with a company that promoted volunteer work. She decided to volunteer at Effie Yeaw Nature Center and promptly fell in love. She became a regular volunteer on Sunday afternoons, enjoying “chatting up” nature with the public. We were lucky to have her join the Nature Center staff in November 2017. Kimberly loves to get out and go on walks through the preserve.
Janay is practically a resident at the Nature Center, having worked here for over 15 years! She serves as one of our weekend receptionists in our Visitor Center. You’re likely to see her on Sundays helping guests purchase parking passes or gifts from our Discovery Shop, or handing out trail maps to groups of explorers!
Jaclyn joined the EYNC team in February 2012. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Biology at California State University Sacramento. In her role at EYNC Jaclyn coordinates events, assists with fundraising and manages memberships. She can also occasionally be found hosting a day camp, providing trail tours, or introducing visitors to our resident birds. In her spare time, Jaclyn enjoys spending time with her family, and being constantly amused by her energetic young son.
After working as a choir director/teacher’s aide in an elementary school for 16 years, Dorothy started as an EYNC volunteer in August 2014. She greeted visitors while working in the Discovery Shop, learned to care for the raptors and other critters in Animal Care, helped in Development and with the annual Art Gala fundraiser. She is now the Center’s assistant to the administrative manager, scheduling Nature Area Tours and classroom outreach programs. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, crafting, music and drawing.
Grounds and Building Maintenance
Steven has worked at the Nature Center as long as some of our senior staff! He keeps the grounds of the Nature Center well-maintained and keeps the building in tip-top shape. You may find Steven driving around the center in our GEM car, blowing leaves off the sidewalk or working on a squeaky door. If you see him, say hi!
Jacqueline fell in love with the night and the cosmos while working with 6th grade youth and high school volunteers at Clemmie Gill’s School of Science and Conservation, Tulare County’s residential science camp in the Sierra foothills. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008. Go Banana Slugs! In 2010, Jacqueline joined the Peace Corps and served as an environmental extension agent in Mali, West Africa. It was a transformative experience to immerse herself in village life and learn the language, customs and traditions of such a beautiful and hospitable country. Upon returning to the United States, Jacqueline continues her goal to foster community wherever she lands and connect people to the wonders of the natural world. While working as an Interpretive Ranger in Yosemite National Park, her fondest memories are telling stories under the night sky and hearing the oohs and aahs of the visitors as the light of a meteor catches their gaze. She is happy to be a member the Admin team, at Effie Yeaw Nature Center, to connect volunteers to various roles that benefit their well-being and strengthen our community.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Native to San Jose, Khalil spent his weekends outdoors whenever he could. Whether it was hiking in Rancho San Antonio, the Santa Cruz mountains or skateboarding with a group of friends, he always had a love for being active outside. Khalil moved to Sacramento in 2017 to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Sacramento State University. Since then, he has reignited his passion for the environment and conservation, seeking to help any way he can with his new set of skills. After taking environmental science classes at his local community college and volunteering with Grassroots Ecology in the Bay Area, Khalil learned the importance of preserving the environment and found his way to the Nature Center in the process of job searching after graduation. Outside of work you can find him exploring trails or new dogs parks with his puppy Bumi.