Mandi Billinge, Executive Director/Founder
Mandi founded KIDS for the BAY and has directed program and organization development for the past twenty-eight years. Mandi was originally a classroom teacher in an inner-city London school. She founded KIDS for the BAY to bring the same exciting, hands-on environmental science projects that she taught in her own classroom into schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mandi’s first-hand knowledge of the type of support that teachers and their students need to develop their literacy in environmental science in the classroom and in the outdoors has ensured that KftB effectively meets the needs of teachers and students and that our programs are very successful. Mandi has a B.S. Honors Degree in Biology from Hull University, England, specializing in freshwater and estuarine ecology, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Leeds University, England and the Development Director’s Certificate from the University of San Francisco. Mandi has three children who love the KIDS for the BAY Summer Camp and have enjoyed outdoor adventures in the camp every summer for many years!
Click here to read Executive Director Mandi Billinge’s “Voices” Article in the Earth Island Journal Magazine
Asha Bucklin, Development and Communications Manager
Asha is passionate about conservation and education and she is excited to join the KIDS for the BAY team as the Communications Manager. Asha has a BA Degree from Northeastern University in Political Science and Environmental Studies, with a minor in Food System Sustainability, Health and Equity. She previously developed a school garden program in Boston with FoodCorps America, where she created and taught hands-on environmental education, and led communications, fundraising and community-building efforts. Her love of the outdoors inspired Asha to complete a 2,190 mile backpacking trip from Maine to Georgia along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Laurel Sebastian, Lead Program Manager
Laurel is excited to share her passion for environmental stewardship with the KIDS for the BAY community, to lead our program staff team and to deliver the Watershed Action Program to our partner schools. Before joining KIDS for the BAY as a Summer Camp Leader in summer 2019, Laurel taught environmental education and conducted field research with Mountain Studies Institute for two years in Colorado. Her favorite project was establishing a citizen science program in the National Forest to monitor stream and forest health with local school students. Laurel grew up exploring Bay Area ecosystems with her family and from an early age she led environmental action groups in school. Laurel has researched plants in Mount Rainer and Yosemite National Parks, and loves identifying plants and animals in her free time. Laurel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College. Laurel speaks conversational Spanish and has traveled in Central and South America.
Sienna Kuykendall, Program Manager
Sienna is passionate about hands-on experiential education that supports young people in making healthy connections to their environment and their community. She is excited to manage and teach an array of KIDS for the BAY programs, including Storm Drain Rangers, Watershed Rangers, Blue Watershed Classrooms, and Field Trips. Sienna has a B.A. Degree in Sociology with a concentration in the Sociology of Education from Pomona College and a certificate in Horticultural Therapy from Colorado State University. Most recently, Sienna led interdisciplinary garden and nutrition education programs with the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, that promoted academic integration, environmental stewardship, food access and wellness for students and families. Previously, Sienna served as a City Year Americorps member providing English Language Arts, Math, and Science interventions in New Orleans public schools. Sienna also enjoys teaching yoga for youth and adults. Sienna speaks conversational Spanish.
Jim Cartan, Program Manager
Jim joined the KIDS for the BAY team as a Program Manager after ten years of working in the environmental field. He is excited to manage our Classroom Workshops, Schoolwide Science, and Summer Camp Programs. Jim is a dedicated environmental steward and has an academic and applied foundation in Bay Area ecology, including a B.A. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and an M.S. in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco. After exploring the opportunity to teach students environmental education with the East Bay non-profit Save Mount Diablo, Jim moved on to a teaching position with Bay Farm Elementary School in Alameda. Jim is now making environmental education the focal point of his career and he is passionate about inspiring future generations of scientists, land use advocates, and practitioners of sustainability. When he is not at work, Jim can be found in East Oakland, gardening, walking his dog, or reading a book, or in San Francisco volunteering for Alemany Farm.
Jamie Ball, Program Coordinator
After working as a Summer Camp Leader in KIDS for the BAY Camp 2019, and an Environmental Educator in Spring 2020, Jamie is thrilled to join KIDS for the BAY as our Program Coordinator! Jamie loves working with children and teaching them about the environment we all share. She grew up in the Canadian Rockies and the San Francisco Bay Area, which allowed her to explore the ecology of different habitats and engage in natural sciences from a young age. Jamie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies and Geography as well as a certification in Permaculture Design from the University of Victoria, Canada. Jamie has been very fortunate to spend time abroad in Paraguay and Nicaragua teaching school students about environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture. In her spare time, Jamie loves to backpack, ski, run, paint, and explore tide pools!
Long Term Consultants to KIDS for the BAY
Shefali Shah is an educator of multicultural and environmental education with over sixteen years of experience. Shefali holds a Spanish Bilingual Teaching Credential and a Masters Degree in Education with a focus on Critical Environmental and Global Literacy. Her research, practice, educational curriculum and teacher training focus on best practices for equitable educational opportunities for multicultural youth. For five years, Shefali was an Instructor in the Teacher Credential and Masters Degree Programs at New College of California and for nine years she served as Program Director and later Education Director for KIDS for the BAY. Shefali’s work promotes environmental education through action and cultural awareness. Shefali’s consulting work for KIDS for the BAY includes: culturally responsive classroom management, diversity and environmental justice workshops, teaching observations and modeling best practices in teaching environmental education.
Since 2005, Kari Gim has owned Slimgim Designs, LLC, a full-service graphic design business based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her projects include logo design, branding strategies, design for print and web, and website development. Kari graduated from California State Hayward University with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications and started her career in publishing at San Francisco-based Mother Jones magazine and Jossey-Bass Publishers. Kari then became the marketing design manager for Avalon Travel Publishers in 2000. For five years she developed print and web designs for the marketing department and several authors: a redesign of the Moon Travel Handbooks line, and a redesign of the Rick Steves travel guidebooks. Kari lives in the East Bay Area with her husband, son, and feisty cat Wasabi.