About Us

One of the lasting legacies of Guided Discoveries is our faculty. Our instructors all have a 4-year degree in the sciences (or a related field) and serve over 45,000 students every year at our 5 facilities. With safety being one of our primary goals they are also required to have First aid, CPR-PR, and Waterfront Lifeguard certifications as well as comprehensive on-site training.

Our Guided Discoveries Alumni is far reaching with hundreds teaching in schools throughout the country. Many of our former faculty can also be found in major aquariums, national sanctuaries, and at science centers and museums throughout the US. The growth and development of Guided Discoveries is a direct result of the energy, enthusiasm, and contributions of our many faculty over the years.

Heather Peterson 

Program Director, Fox Landing

“I love living and working with people who get excited about the ocean as much as I do.  Every day is uniquely different and yet full of fun, learning, and adventure.”

Born and raised in southern California, Heather grew up going to the beach and playing in the water since before she could walk.  She spent her summers teaching swimming at the community pool before heading off to UCLA to get a degree in Marine Biology.

Heather’s adventure with Guided Discoveries began in 2009 as a marine science instructor at Fox Landing. Originally planning to be here for just one year, she fell in love with the island and hasn’t left since. In her time here on the island, she has worked as an Aquarist, Assistant Program Director for both school year and summer YMCA programs, and Social Media Coordinator before becoming the Program Director.

Heather currently holds a US Coast Guard Captain’s License, is a NAUI Divemaster, rescue diver, Wilderness First Responder, and American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor.

Contact Heather at heather@cimi.org or call 310-510-1890.

Michael Highfield

Maintenance Director

Michael spent years working maintenance while I went to school for my AA degree. When finished, he set out to look for a place to call home. To have found it working for Guided Discoveries has been a pleasure.

In 2008, Michael began working at the AstroCamp campus. Where he learned the importance of the job is not just to clean and fix the facility but also to provide a positive educational memory. Where our guests can build a foundation for positive learning habits and gain positive personal behavior.

In 2018, Michael was given the opportunity to work at Fox Landing, and teach a crew of people his passion for maintenance. Each day his crew works hard to make Fox a safe and clean environment for our guest. Please come and enjoy our campus.

Contact Michael at Michael@cimi.org or call 310-510-1890.

 Matthew McGrew

Food Service Director

“Flexibility and versatility in the service that I provide makes me confident that I will offer a superior standard of service to all of the Guest. With my background and years of service, planning a variety of well-balanced nutritional menus is second nature to me. I love to go the extra mile when it comes to creating a special ambiance including the presentation of the food to fit the special request that I may receive. I enjoy making sure that the guest that I have the opportunity to provide meals for, that I meet their individual diets and will make every attempt to meet everyone’s needs.”

Matthew was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM and spent much of his time in the mountains of Northern New Mexico.   “I knew from a young age that I love to be in the kitchen and open spaces”

Matthew studied Pastry Arts at TV-I and Johnson and Whales University in Providence RI. Matthew has over 24 years of experience. After his formal studies Matthew worked with Sun West Food Service and Fine Host – Contract Food Service Management Companies. After moving his way up to Food Service Director for a few different accounts.   Matthew then Decided to try out Self-Employment so he started out and operated Enchanted Catering Services and Mogie’s Mongolian Grill. Over the past 14 years, a few of the organizations that Matthew has teamed up with and very satisfied customers include; Arizona Cactus-Pine Girl Scout Council Inc., Camp Fire USA, Life Teen, YMCA Camp Sky-Y and 4-H Camp Mingus Springs.

After years of being Self-Employed Matthew decided to join a team. He graciously accepted the Food Service Director position at Fox Landing with Guided Discoveries. “I am so honored to be part of this amazing organization, the team has welcomed me with open arms, instantly I feel like I’m Family. I see how everyone has such a great amount of love for the impact that they make on the children and guest that come through the programs that Guided Discoveries provide.”

“As I Look back on all of the lives that I have impacted, I look forward to the new chapter in my career with this amazing opportunity living and working at Fox Landing for many years to come!”

Contact Matt at matt@cimi.org or call 310-510-1890.