Education Program

We teach over 1,300 students every year throughout Sonoma Valley. Our programs teach children and adults to care for our natural heritage through experiences that foster curiosity and reverence, and inspire action and caretaking. By educating our community we are helping to cultivate earth stewards — both young and old — who will be equipped to deal with the many environmental challenges we face in the 21st century.

Summer Science Camps at Sonoma Garden Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park

Science Camp provides children with the opportunity to learn about science and connect with nature through adventures, explorations, and hands-on activities. This summer we will be offering six sessions of camp, based at either Sugarloaf Ridge State Park or Sonoma Garden Park. Learn More.

K-6 Watershed Education Program

Since 2002, Sonoma Ecology Center has been the only organization in the Valley providing in-class environmental education programs specific to the Sonoma Creek Watershed. We offer these programs to Sonoma Valley youth at no cost to schools. Reaching more than 1,200 students every school year, we provide in-class lessons and bring students to various natural sites and open spaces throughout the watershed. Learn More.


EnviroLeaders is a unique program designed to foster diverse, environmentally literate community leaders from among Sonoma Valley’s youth. Any Valley resident between the ages of 14 and 18 can gain valuable work experience through the EnviroLeaders program, with the skills and tools needed to tackle the critical challenges they will face as tomorrow’s leaders. Learn More.

California Naturalist Program

Sonoma Ecology Center is teaming up with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to offer the California Naturalist Program, an accredited eight-week course held at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The eight-week course results in real college credits, turning nature lovers into certified graduates of the UC California Naturalist Program, making them valuable authorities on California’s plants and animals, geology and soils, water, climate, and biodiversity. Learn More.

Senderos Naturales

Senderos Naturales es un programa bilingüe que explora lugares naturales en español y inglés. Hacemos caminatas, remando, jardinería, camping, y proyectos artísticas para toda la familia en tierras conservadas y parques.

Senderos Naturales is a bilingual program that explores natural places in Spanish and English. We do hikes, paddling, gardening, camping, and artistic projects for the whole family on conservation land and in parks. Learn More.

Other Community Education

Sonoma Ecology Center staff and outside experts lead numerous workshops, outings and field experiences throughout the year that inform and inspire while offering participants opportunities to learn firsthand about the natural resources in our area. Our workshops are held at Sonoma Garden Park, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, and several other partner land projects in Sonoma Valley, such as the Van Hoosear and Montini open space preserves. To learn more about upcoming workshops, outings, and other events, see our events calendar. View the full Events Calendar.


Education Staff

Tony Passantino

Tony Passantino

Education Program Manager

B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies, UCLA

Tony worked on watershed conservation and education as an intern with Tahoe-Baikal Institute. Prior to joining Sonoma Ecology Center, Tony completed an AmeriCorps term in Lake Tahoe, working on building sustainable communities and developing plans for homeowners to prevent soil erosion and runoff from entering the watershed. He teaches in Sonoma Valley classrooms and at various field sites, and oversees the EnviroLeaders and California Naturalist programs. He is serving as the Chair of the Sonoma Environmental Education Collaborative (SEEC) for the 2024-2026 term.

Julia Megna

Julia Megna

Education Project Manager

B.A. in Humanities and Theater Arts, UCSC / Teaching Credential, Chapman University

Julia taught in Sonoma County elementary schools for 32 years, 21 as a classroom teacher. As a teacher leader, she specialized in the sciences, curriculum development, outdoor education, fundraising, and facilitating the creation of outdoor learning environments. Through her own efforts as well as Point Blue’s STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed), Julia has engaged hundreds of students in restoration projects and conservation science.

Jonny Ehlers

Jonny Ehlers


B.A. in Environmental Education and Wildland Management, UCSC

Jonny is a fourth-generation educator who began working with youth right out of high school in an after-school program in Sacramento. He later became an educator in West Sonoma County at a residential camp working with diverse populations, and founded The Mycelium Project, an organization dedicated to helping kids and adults through hikes, and nature-based activities.

Camille Sanchez

Camille Sanchez


Camille began studying Early Child Development and quickly found fulfillment in nature-based learning. She uses her love of art and sustainability to facilitate connections to the natural world around us. Camille is a certified Naturalist, Climate Steward, and a Mother. She has led outdoor educational programs, channeling her inner child and using her passion to create an experience filled with curiosity and excitement for all ages.


  • Sonoma Valley Unified School District
  • Kenwood School District
  • Hanna Boys Center
  • Valley of the Moon Teen Center
  • Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley
  • Master Gardeners of Sonoma County