Sacramento Splash is blessed with an enthusiastic and creative team of educators. Some are professional scientists, while others are former classroom teachers, but they are all united by a passion for sharing the wonders of nature with children and their families.
Emily has been a Splasher since childhood, when her mother and Splash’s founder, Eva Butler, brought home a tray of vernal pool water. Emily spent hours hovered over the trays watching the critters swim around and eat each other.
Growing up on her grandparents’ farm in southeastern Massachusetts, Eva played in the same woods that her mother had enjoyed as a child. Her reverence for its spring-fed stream full of native brook trout spawned a desire in Eva to explore the life that flourishes in clean streams and vernal pools.
Born and raised in Rancho Cordova, Katie Hartle attended one of Splash’s field trips when she was in fifth grade with her mother as a chaperone. She was very impressed with what she experienced. Not long after that, her mother, Lu-Anne, started working at the Splash Center. Katie has been around ever since.
Lu-Anne has always been fascinated with water and the critters that live in it. She became especially fond of salamanders when she was 6 years old and her parents brought home an Eastern Newt to help her recover from having her tonsils removed.
David lived most of his childhood in Lima, the capital city of Peru. Nature was not abundant in his hometown, but that made his trips outside the city much more special. Whether it’d be a trip to the southern Andes, the Peruvian desert coast or the Amazon rainforest, it was always a fun and exciting adventure with much to explore.
Meghan discovered Splash by chance while looking for a nature-based storytime for her then 18-month-old son. The moment she walked through the doors, she knew Splash was different and something she wanted to be part of. Within a few months, she was a volunteer, helping Lu-Anne Spencer-Hartle with the care and feeding of the rescue animals in Critterville. She has been at Splash ever since.
David has worked as an environmental educator, teacher, park ranger, and naturalist for nearly 30 years. His degree in Biology from the University of Michigan and extensive field experience have given David an intimate understanding of, and a deep love for, nature and wildlife.
Bethany developed empathy for the natural world and desired to connect with it at a young age. She grew up catching insects with nets and examining them in her grandparents’ backyard, traveling with her family on camping trips all over the western U.S. and spending hours in her backyard dreaming in nature.
Janet grew up loving nature and the outdoors. Snakes, lizards, spiders, birds and coyotes were commonly observed in the Southern California desert where she grew up. Her fondest childhood memories are of riding her horse, Lady, through the sagebrush in search of something that would hop, crawl, or slither out of its hiding place.
As a young boy growing up in a small country town in Northern Illinois, Thom developed a deep love and appreciation for nature and the outdoors. He felt it was his job to go out and explore the prairies and woodland to find the animals and critters hidden there. He would often come home after a long day of exploring so covered in dirt and mud that his Mom would hose him down in the yard with the garden hose before he could come in the house.
Nancy joined Splash in 2004, after retiring from teaching elementary school science for 17 years. One of her favorite Splash jobs is to go out very early in the morning to the vernal pools to scoop up the critters that students view through microscopes in the Splash Education Center. Sometimes she even sees a coyote trotting home after its pre-dawn hunt.
Irene joined Splash after retiring from teaching elementary school. Although she grew up in the Los Angeles area, she loved to camp with her family and get away from the city. A move to Missouri as a young woman helped her discover the wide open spaces of rural America.
Melanie has always had a love for the outdoors and especially animals. This love all began with annual family camping trips and when the time came to decide what to study in college, Biology was a natural choice.
Sir Hiss-a-Lot was hatched sometime around 1993. When Sir Hiss was a baby snake, he was captured by a boy who didn’t know that you should never keep a wild animal as a pet. Nonetheless, the boy took excellent care of him for about 10 years…