Mandi Billinge, Executive Director/Founder
Mandi founded KIDS for the BAY and has directed program and organization development for the past thirty 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 under-resourced 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 education in the classroom and in the outdoors has ensured that KIDS for the BAY effectively meets the needs of teachers and students and that our programs are very successful. Mandi has a Bachelor of Science 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 loves being a Mom to her three children, and exploring in nature with her family. She also enjoys dancing, swimming, reading and going on hiking adventures.
- An interview with Mandi in Bay Nature Magazine.
- Mandi’s interview on KPFA’s Terra Verde Radio Program.
Corey Chan, Education and Outreach Manager
Corey was born and raised in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, and is passionate about sharing its natural wonders, and helping others develop a deeper connection with the environment around them. Having worked as a Summer Camp Leader with KIDS for the BAY in 2018, and as a Program Manager from 2021 – 2022, Corey is excited to now lead the program staff team as Education and Outreach Manager. Corey’s start in environmental education began over 16 years ago in Santa Cruz while working towards her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies. She has since worked throughout California teaching hands-on experiential science to young learners in various ecosystems. Corey also has a Single-Subject Teaching Credential and has taught Life Science, Biology, and Marine Biology at the high school level. She is a Certified California Naturalist and Nature and Forest Therapy Guide. In her spare time, Corey enjoys wandering local trails, cooking and eating delicious plant-based meals, nature journaling, and playing with her furry family members!
Yvette Diaz Samayoa, Program Manager/Environmental Educator
Yvette is so happy to be part of the KIDS for the BAY team and share her love for environmental outreach with students and the community. She was born and raised in the East San Francisco Bay Area and is thrilled to do her part to give back to her community. Yvette has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies from California State University Monterey Bay. She gained experience teaching youth of all ages about the importance of environmental stewardship in her internships with Solano and Napa Resource Conservation Districts. Yvette believes that the most profound change can happen in schools, and she is excited to visit so many in her Educator role! Yvette is passionate about taking care of her community, which is why KIDS for the BAY is the perfect fit for her. She is bilingual in English and Spanish. In her free time, Yvette loves to play with her dogs, paint, and bake desserts.
Sakshi Srivastava, Program Coordinator/Environmental Educator
Sakshi is so excited to partner with students and school communities in her role with KIDS for the BAY, and to work towards education and awareness around environmental justice and protection. She grew up in the South Bay and has a deep curiosity for nature. She loves learning from the young people she teaches and is always amazed by the wonderful questions they ask. Sakshi has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where her focus was largely on child development. She also received her Masters Degree in Education and her Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential at University of California at Berkeley, through the Berkeley Educators for Equity and Excellence program, which focuses on anti-racist practices within the classroom. Sakshi has worked with students of all ages in elementary schools and most recently taught fourth grade in Oakland public schools. She loves connecting with students, teachers, and caregivers, and is excited to work with schools across the East Bay in KIDS for the BAY programs. In her free time, Sakshi enjoys baking, reading, spending time in her hammock, and finding delicious food spots around the Bay Area!
Grace Bedecarre, Program Coordinator/Environmental Educator
Grace is thrilled to work with KIDS for the BAY as an Educator in local schools. She is excited to share her love for the environment with children and the community, and to inspire watershed stewardship. Grace grew up in Los Angeles, California, and she loves the ocean! She graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science and Environmental Policy and Planning. During her time in Davis, Grace became interested in sustainable agriculture and outdoor education. She worked at the university student farm, and as an instructor with several programs including ‘Yolo Farm to Fork’ and ‘Sprout Up’, which foster environmental stewardship in children. Grace is passionate about encouraging natural curiosity and learning about the outdoor world. During her free time she loves to paint, garden, nature journal and go on long walks, stopping to look at every interesting flower!
Nicole Garcia, Program Coordinator/Environmental Educator
Nicole is a California native and grew up in Antioch. She is very excited to work at KIDS for the BAY with children in the East Bay community, and help them develop a deep passion for environmental conservation. Nicole holds an Associate of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from Los Medanos College, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Davis. During her time at Davis, Nicole specialized in conservation, restoration and freshwater ecosystems. Nicole worked as an interpretive Student Aide at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve from 2019-2023 with the East Bay Regional Park District. In this role she educated and entertained visitors with captivating presentations on the region’s mining and natural history, focusing on the Mount Diablo foothills. She also collaborated with naturalists to develop and present programs on some of her favorite topics including bats, birds, snakes, and wildflowers. Nicole’s filming expertise also contributed to the production of educational videos that enhanced the park district’s outreach efforts. Nicole enjoys video games, hiking to waterfalls, and wheel-throwing ceramics as well as taking care of her rabbits, fish, and plants.
Long Term Consultants to KIDS for the BAY
Shefali Shah is an educator of multicultural and environmental education with over twenty 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 lives in the East Bay Area with her husband, son, and spirited Labradoodle, Herbie.