Mountain Man from Jonathan Formica on Vimeo.
Naturalist For You (NFY) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, public benefit corporation. All donations are tax-deductible.
Mission: Connecting everyone to local wilderness!
NFY was created to connect you, the public, to the diverse natural areas in your backyard. As naturalists we possess a broad knowledge and understanding of the natural world. We are trained to observe natural processes and interpret their significance for your benefit. We are passionate about wild places and seek to share that passion with you.
We primarily conduct programs on publicly-owned land, such as the national forests, state parks, and county parks. We also provide exclusive access to private preserves owned by local land trusts. Many of our local natural areas are vast, beautiful, and mysterious, but rarely visited by the majority of our population. We want to encourage you to explore these priceless treasures. Every positive experience we share in nature brings us closer to preserving it for future generations.
Our vision is to preserve the ecological integrity of our local natural areas through community outreach and stewardship. Our programs are meant to be entertaining and educational. We understand that the human and natural communities are connected. Therefore, tours are designed to avoid negative impacts, such as habitat destruction, wildlife injury, erosion, and various forms of pollution. In addition to preserving a high level of respect for our natural surroundings, your comfort and safety are our highest priorities.
We are currently recruiting new volunteers to help with tour programs, online marketing, and outreach. If you are interested, please contact Joel Robinson. Also, please visit our Resources page, which includes recommend books, websites, and apps.
Joel Robinson - Founder, executive director, and head naturalist for Naturalist For You. He has guided thousands of curious individuals on professional wilderness tours since 2001. Many organizations and agencies have utilized his talents, including the US Forest Service, Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, The Wildlands Conservancy, the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, Los Padres Forest Association, Silverado Modjeska Park & Recreation District, Santa Ana Mountains Wild Heritage Project, City of Santa Ana, City of Lake Forest, and Orange County Department of Education. He is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation. He writes an environmental blog for OC Weekly. He has been seen on Public Television, Nat Geo Wild, and Syfy Network. His mission is to connect everyone to local wilderness in an effort to raise the level of environmental awareness and stewardship.
Julia Markey - Artist, photographer, birdwatcher, volunteer naturalist and general comedian.
Chase Brown - A barefoot, bearded naturalist from Rancho Santa Margarita who Morris dances, climbs trees, eats wild edibles, studies indigenous languages, and shares stories about rambling all over the place.
Ryan Fawley - A musician, actor, and naturalist from Silverado Canyon who plays banjo and drums, performs in community theater, and shares stories about the supernatural, childhood memories, geologic history, and beyond.
Jennifer Sundell - A teacher, singer, actor, naturalist and mom from Silverado Canyon who educates autistic children, performs in community theater, and shares hilarious stories about her family, haunting urban legends, and beyond.
Julie Garner - "I enjoy participating in and leading Naturalist-for-You tours - any excuse to be outside."
Jenessa Stemke - I focus on food foraging, permaculture design, weather prediction (based on cloud observations, wind patterns, and bird flight patterns, not weather.com), wildflower ID, and survival skills. My unique passion is urban food foraging - collecting and preparing edible plants found in cities and suburbia, whether they are street trees (carob, dates), ornamental (day lilies, natal plum), uncommon edibles that people don't recognize (papaya, sapote, kaffir plum, banana) or weeds (mustard, sourgrass). I love to concoct interesting new recipes and share! I'm trying to coordinate seasonal foraging feasts and am always looking for hosts!
John Smith - Joining Naturalist For You has changed me from a hiker walking through vague green stuff to be avoided because it might make me itch, to someone walking trails finding many old green friends and always on the lookout to make new ones. Along with NFY, I'm also volunteer with the Cleveland Natural Forest doing trail cleanup and graffiti removal.
Scott Keltic Knot - lyricist, educator, permaculturist, community organizer, naturalist. Scott grew up in Orange County amidst rapid development. He is an inflammatory opponent of unsustainable housing tracts and water usage, as attested to in his hit single “Turn off the Sprinklers!” Scott is fluent in Spanish and leads bilingual and Spanish language tours. He is also an ardent advocate for human rights, working with local organizations such as the Tonantzin Collective. Scott enjoys mild strolls as well as highly strenuous and long hikes that have been sardonically termed “death marches” by some tour participants.
Adam Fanello - went on so many hikes with Joel, he may have simply learned to be a naturalist by proximity. Adam likes slower paced hikes to really enjoy his surroundings and share knowledge and stories with others, rather than racing through the forest.
Kirk Pickler - A freelance naturalist, biologist and educator. He has been active in outdoor California for most of his life. He is a multi-instrumentalist, gardener and simple-living advocate. He resides in North Orange County.
Board of Directors
(We are currently seeking new board members to help with fundraising and outreach. If you are interested, please contact Joel Robinson.
Dan Spurgeon - Lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a writer and as a hospice and palliative care physician. The work done through Naturalist For You continually inspires him to regard our environment with awe and responsibility.
Patrick Mitchell - A professional naturalist, author of the Santa Ana River Guide & Santa Ana Mountain History, Habitat & Hikes, expert backpacker, and loyal protector of the Santa Ana Mountains.
R.J. Schwichtenberg - His dedication and commitment to the preservation and enjoyment of the environment is a daily mission. His employment with the City of Irvine provides landscaping maintenance for daily use and enjoyment of the city parks, and his passion for the land and all its wonders includes growing consumable fruits and vegetables, community gardening, and exploration of some of the world's extraordinary fauna and flora. He is also part owner of Au Naturaw Organic Garden Eatery in Santa Ana, CA.