Our Outdoor Education Staff

Our staff is energetic, professional, patient & knowledgeable.

Our trip leaders come from a wide variety of career paths & college programs; including environmental and outdoor education, natural history, State and National Park services, marine biology and other educational backgrounds. We take great pride in our hiring & interview process to bring exceptional candidates from across the country. All of our staff complete intensive & comprehensive training with our management team prior to the outdoor education season. With student safety being our #1 priority, all of our trips leaders maintain current CPR and First Aid certifications; several have Wilderness First Responder and EMT certifications.

California Outdoor Education Programs

As a teacher, I am critical of other teachers. I genuinely admire what you folks are teaching others about the oceans and hills. You aim to do more than entertain: you aim to have other people learn through experience. It is good and important work that you do.

Downloadable Outdoor Education Profiles


Group Sales Coordinators

Planning your trip with us begins with a Group Sales Coordinator who will work with you to design your adventure day by day, activity by activity. All of our trips are fully customizable and we’ll work with you to meet the goals of your trip.


In the Field Program Coordinators

All multi-day outdoor education trips have Program Coordinators who oversee the program in the field. Think of them as your “Trip Concierge”. Based on the size of your group you’ll have Trail Guides who serve as group leaders. Manning our camp kitchens will be our Commissary Directors. All of our staff has CPR & First Aid certifications; several have Wilderness First Responders advanced training.


Trip Guides & Leaders

Many of our guides are certified interpreters with the National Association of Interpretation and Level III kayak guides with the American Canoe Association. We have guides who specialize in merit badges for Boy Scout & Girl Scout Troops. Additionally, we have guides with Lifeguard certifications & Class B Commercial licenses.

For more information about our guides check out, “Our Guide Page

Michael Cohen

(Owner, Director)

Michael founded Santa Barbara Adventure Company in 1998. Michael’s background includes 18 years as a program coordinator and outdoor educator, as well as a river guide and Adventure Travel Outfitter. Before opening the doors of his own business, he worked as a manager for one of California’s largest outdoor education outfitters. Through his years leading many school programs, Michael learned first-hand what it takes to create an unforgettable outdoor education experience.

Laird Riddell 
(Field Coordinator)

                Laird started working for SB Adventure Co in 2011 as a guide, outdoor educator, and field coordinator. Laird’s path to becoming our field coordinator started in high school, where he became an Eagle Scout. He always had a knack for teaching, so he went on to earn his B.S. in education. During and after college Laird started guiding backpacking, canoeing, sailing, diving, and Leave No Trace trips. Realizing his love for both the outdoors and teaching, Laird decided to pursue a career in Outdoor Education. His long list of certifications includes; Certified Interpretive Guide, Lifeguard Management, Merit Badge Counselor Certification, National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) Certification and Wilderness First Responder. Laird’s enthusiasm, leadership skills and knowledge of the outdoors, make him the perfect fit for SB Adventure Co.

(Program Coordinator and Environmental Coordinator)

                As Program Coordinator, Kyle manages and oversees guide staff on outdoor education, corporate, and group trips. He has extensive outdoor leadership experience and has earned his B.A. in Communication and Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB). Kyle has worked with UCSB’s Adventure Programs and has 8+ years as a trained lifeguard with CPR/AED for the professional rescuer. He also has 4+ years’ experience as a Water Safety Instructor, is Wilderness First Aid certified, and is a board member with California Student Sustainability Coalition. Kyle also works as our Environmental Coordinator developing and implementing company environmental stewardship efforts. Kyle is an amazing asset to the SB Adventure Co team. He is passionate about connecting youth with the great outdoors and preserving the environmental for future generations to relish.

(B.S. Kinesiology – Westmont College, Group Sales Manager)

Brooke has extensive background in non-profit educational work, teaching both inside and outside of the classroom.  In her 5 years with SB Adventure Co., she has had the opportunity to lead environmental education programs throughout Southern California and at the Channel Islands National Park. Brooke currently serves as Group Sales Manager, overseeing our custom trip programming and working closely with our school partners to create unique learning experiences for their students. Brooke’s love for teaching and the outdoors will ensure a meaningful experience that will challenge and inspire young minds.

(B.S. Environmental Policy – Rutgers University, Group Sales Manager)

                As Group Sales Coordinator, Fiona organizes and orchestrates larger customized programs. This ranges from multi-day Environmental Education programs for school groups on the Channel Islands, to single-day teambuilding activities for corporate groups. Hailing from an environmental and guiding background, Fiona has received a B.S. in Environmental Policy with a concentration in Marine Biology and has been an outdoor educator for 6 years. Fiona has also worked in the field, leading kayaking, backpacking, climbing and skiing trips with Rutgers Recreation Go Outdoors Program.

(B.S. Communication Studies – Emerson College, Group Sales Coordinator)

McKennaworks with larger groups looking for a more private or custom experience. From school groups to VIP corporate retreats, McKenna creates unique programs that are tailored to best fit the client’s needs and goals. She is also a certified yoga teacher trainer and therapeutic yoga therapist. With prior experience at REI, McKenna knows what it takes to thrive in an outdoor environment.

(B.S. Biology – California State University Channel Islands, Snorkel/Kayak Guide, Marine Biologist)

                Sarah has worked at Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), Camp Sea Lab in Monterey Bay, Naturalist at Large (NAL) and now SB Adventure Co. where she has educated youth of all ages. Her background in Outdoor Education and extensive knowledge of marine biology, make her an ideal guide. Sarah loves teaching kids about the ocean and getting them excited to be outside. Some of Sarah’s favorite activities include whale watching, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking to wild flowers!

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Lifeguard Certified, California Naturalist Certified

(B.S. Environmental Science – Dickinson College, Kayak Guide)

                Elise is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) sea kayaking and backpacking course for outdoor educators. She has led camping and backpacking trips for a school focused on outdoor education and was a Marine Science Instructor at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). Elise also works with local school districts to expose kids to coastal ecosystems through interactive field trips thanks to a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy. One of Elise’s favorite parts about outdoor education is being able to help kids step out of their comfort zones to try an outdoor activity they’ve never done before and watching them get hooked. When Elise is not guiding, you can find her boogie boarding, hunting for sea glass or relaxing on the beach with a great book!

Certifications: National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Graduate, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), California Naturalist Certified

(Master’s in Biological Science – California Polytechnic State University, Kayak Guide)

                Aubrie’s extensive background in marine biology and resource protection at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) makes her an incredibly knowledgeable guide. One of Aubrie’s favorite aspects of working in outdoor education is learning from youth and getting kids in touch with their natural environment. Some of Aubrie’s favorite activities include backpacking through foreign countries and scuba diving with sea turtles!

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, and Leave No Trace Certified


(B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry – UC Santa Barbara, Kayak Guide)

Dustin has previously instructed kayaking and guided outdoor trips with UCSB Adventure Programs, worked as a summer camp director and counselor, and graduated from his high school’s Outdoor Leadership Program. He has also worked as a ropes course facilitator and volunteered in middle school classrooms to teach science. What Dustin really enjoys about outdoor education is watching groups come together to overcome a challenge, whether it is a team-building initiative or reasoning through how natural and scientific processes occur. When Dustin isn’t guiding you can find him kayaking and doing photography.

Certifications: Wilderness EMT, Scuba Diver, Lifeguard and CPR Certified


(B.S. Psychology & Earth Science – UC Santa Barbara, Assistant Island Manager, Kayak Guide)

Jerry has experience as an Interpretive Park Ranger/Naturalist in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park with emphasis on kids’ programs, such as Junior Ranger walks and Kids’ campfire talks. He has also worked as a Field Staff member with Wilderness Youth Project and has background in literature, composition, and music. Jerry’s favorite part about outdoor education is finding creative, kid-friendly ways to engage youth in learning and connecting them to the world outside their heads. 

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Contact us to receive a custom proposal & rate information.
(805) 884-9283
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