Jennifer Ortega, Ed.D.


Jennifer’s philosophy of education is to teach in a way that inspires curiosity. She believes by fostering awareness of the interconnectedness of natural systems and human systems through active hands-on learning and place-based education, students gain knowledge, acquire skills and develop attitudes promoting stewardship. Without an environmentally literate society, Jennifer feels that individuals will not be prepared to take the necessary actions to build and maintain a sustainable future.

Jennifer has a variety of environmental education experience acquired from working as a middle school science teacher, an education ranger for Redwood National & State Parks, a coordinator of education programs at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Natural History Museum, and teaching for numerous years in higher education.

Since 2012, Jennifer has been a faculty member at Cal Poly Humboldt. She is a Master Certified Environmental Educator recognized by the North American Association of Environmental Education (NAAEE) and a trainer of the Guidelines for Excellence developed by NAAEE. Jennifer is an instructor for the statewide University of California Naturalist Program and a steering committee member for the California Environmental Education Certification Program.

Jennifer’s favorite place is in the outdoors with friends and family. Some activities she enjoys are agate hunting, trail running, rafting rivers, camping under the stars and watching her sons surfing waves.


B.S. in Marine Fisheries, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
M.A. in Curriculum & Pedagogy (Science Education), University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Ed.D.: in Educational Sustainability, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, WI

Courses Taught

ESM 303 - Natural History & Ecology
ESM 309B - Environmental Communication
ESM 350 - Fundamentals of Environmental Education & Interpretation