Staff & Volunteers
Luz Maria Marquez
Educational Intern - Program Assisstant
" Hi! My name is Luz Maria “Lucy” Marquez and I am a student from SJSU majoring in Environmental Studies. I was born and raised in South San Jose close to a county park. I loved spending time with my family at the park and respect for nature was instilled as a top priority for me at a young age. Having loved volunteering at science camp several times led me to pursue a degree involving nature. I welcome opportunities that allow me to learn and teach others how to appreciate and enjoy nature responsibly to make sure it thrives for everyone and everything. "
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.
Growing up in a military family was integral in contributing to my life perspective. We moved a lot. We mostly lived in the states, with a few years overseas. I learned to be flexible, embrace the novel and unique characteristics of each place, its people, and culture. I feel that this has made me the life-long learner that I am today. I am especially fascinated by science and find that I learn new things each day because science is everywhere around us. Having taught for 29 years as a middle and high school science teacher, I have a love for science, nature, and learning. Every day I have wanted to bring my students closer to appreciating the beauty of science and its intricacies. Most importantly, to wonder about the world in ways that opened their minds and hearts.
I have experience teaching biology, anatomy & physiology, AP biology, marine ecology, integrated science, Earth science, as well as physics, chemistry which I taught at the middle school level. Often these classes included field studies of the local creeks & beaches. I am currently a volunteer docent at Natural Bridges State Park. I spend a great deal of time outdoors running, riding my bike, swimming, playing pickle ball. I enjoy going on adventures around the world, and in the back country of California. I am fortunate to have several rescued companions, 3 rabbits and one kitty, coexisting with me in my home.
The man behind the designs. Volunteer Marcos Ortiz has used his profound skills as a graphic designer to better the community around him. A skilled muralist (once frowned upon for his accidental run-ins with walls with a spray can in his younger years) he is a role model to our youth. Today, he is hired by business owners and advocates to create and paint beautiful murals on their walls of business; helping to attract customers, spread words of inspiration, as well as providing a visual eye treat to locals and tourists as they walkabout San Jose.
Thank you for adding colour to our community Marcos!