Naturalists / Instructors at Ardenwood Historic Farm

Ardenwood Historic Farm

Address: Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, CA 94555
Phone No.: (510) 544-2797

Sonja Gomez, Supervising Naturalist

Sonja has always enjoyed playing in dirt and exploring the world around her. She began her career when she became a cofounder of The Nature Club at age six. She has since earned a BS in Environmental Studies and an MA in Museum Studies, and has worked in a variety of settings, including agriculture, field research, and conservation education. She was thrilled to join the East Bay Regional Park District in 2016 and spent four amazing years at Coyote Hills Regional Park before joining the team at Ardenwood Historic Farm. When not at work, she can often be found tinkering in the garden or hiking with her family. She believes in building healthy, happy communities through positive experiences in our parks, and hopes you will come play with her at the farm.

Mindy Castle, Naturalist/Docent Coordinator

Mindy joined the Park District in 2012, but has been professionally romping through the Bay Area’s marshes, forests, grasslands, and estuarine waters since 2002, igniting excitement in kids and adults alike. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Principia College and has worked as an educator for National Audubon Society, Contra Costa Water District, and Marine Science Institute. Her favorite things are bright copper kettles, spending time with her family, baking delicious desserts, and Star Wars.

David Cohen

As a child, David would often whine and complain while his parents took him on hikes throughout the Bay Area. To everyone's great joy and amusement, David would end up pursuing a career in environmental education. While earning a BA in Environmental Studies, he led 9th graders on hikes and habitat restoration projects with the summer school program Aim High. He later joined YMCA Point Bonita and Aquarium of the Bay, working as an outdoor educator and aquarium tour guide, teacher, and presenter. Before joining the East Bay Regional Parks District in 2021, he most recently worked with the Public Programs department of the California Academy of Sciences. David loves working with students and presenting to large groups, but also relishes one-on-one conversations with small groups and individuals. His hobbies include record collecting, SCUBA diving, and going to Giants, A's, and Warriors games with friends and family. Above all, the former whiney hiker holds this to be true: that exposing people to the beauty, importance, and interconnectedness of our natural world can have profound impacts on their lives for years to come.

Christina Garcia, Naturalist

After stints as a seasonal campground attendant at Lake Del Valle and in the Visitor Center at Coyote Hills, Christina joined the Ardenwood staff as a naturalist in 1996. With a B.A. in zoology from San Jose State University, she previously worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as a wildlife resource analyst, where she trapped feral pigs, surveyed frogs and salamanders, and had her first mountain lion encounter. Since launching the Wednesday Walks hiking series in 1998, Christina has logged over 1700 miles in virtually every park in the District.  As an on-call firefighter/EMT for the District, her intimate knowledge of the trails was invaluable on many a late-night wildland fire or search and rescue call. At the farm, Christina enjoys cooking on the woodstove and leading bird walks as well as tours of the monarch butterfly overwintering site. Working with volunteers, including over 15 years as docent coordinator, has been an ongoing pleasure, and the opportunity to share in the wonder of the natural world with people of all ages and backgrounds has been the ultimate honor and an inspiration for lifelong learning.