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Staff & Volunteers


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Richard David Tejeda
Founder & Executive Director

Richard Tejeda is the Founder and Executive Director of Saved By Nature. Growing up in a drug and gang infested neighborhood in South San Jose, Richard is very familiar with the revolving door system many youth and adults can suffer due to social injustice.


When asked what nature means to him, Richard says, “Nature literally saved my life. I was supposed to be a statistic, but I couldn’t let that happen. I had to reinvent myself, and nature was a positive escape from the everyday negativity of my neighborhood. I made it out, and believe me, there were a lot of people that didn’t - all odds were against us. I think of that every day. Now I’m determined to change lives, and I plan to do that by using the same passions that transformed my life - that’s what this is all about. My name is Richard David Tejeda, and I have been.... Saved By Nature.

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Elexis Padron
Natural & Cultural Resources Interpreter

Elexis Padrón is an artist, California Naturalist, educator, and deeply curious human hailing from the small Central Valley town of Sanger, California. She earned her Bachelor’s Degrees in Art and Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz, where she fell in love with printmaking and scientific illustration. After a couple of years of working with an arts-education nonprofit in LA, she relocated to the Bay Area to teach hands-on science-based lessons in an outdoor classroom for TK-5th graders. She then spent a year as a Senior Park Aide for Interpretation at Butano State Park and Half Moon Bay State Beach before joining Saved by Nature as a Natural & Cultural Resources Interpreter.

Elexis brings with her a passion for helping people deepen their connection with nature through fun experiences and artistic practices, and the belief that humans are not separate from nature, and that strengthening that relationship is crucial to moving forward in our current climate.

She enjoys spending her free time reading a good fiction book, nature journaling, dancing, camping, and learning new creative pursuits to add to her collection of hobbies she doesn’t have time for.


Lillian Silva
Program Assistant

Coming soon.

Community Nature Guides 2022


Dawn Theirl
Community Nature Guide

Bio coming soon. 


Carlos Marquez
Community Nature Guide

Bio coming soon. 


Denise Smith
Community Nature Guide

Denise Smith is native to the San Francisco Bay Area. She has worked with agencies such as National Park

Service, City of Fremont, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Mateo and Santa Clara County Parks and the City of San Jose parks and neighborhood services. Here Docent experience is with East Bay Regional Parks - Ardenwood Historic Farm, and Open Space Authority Santa Clara Valley. She has a BA in Recreation Management from San Francisco State University. Her passion is people and educating them on the natural and cultural history of the bay area. She loves the relaxing and stress reducing aspects of being in

nature. If you don’t see her in parks, you can find her at a car show which is a hobby of hers.


Leslie Anido
Community Nature Guide

Bio coming soon. 


Pamela Campos
Community Nature Guide

Bio coming soon.