Our Team

Agnès Barrelet
Executive Director

Agnes grew up in the south of France and began her love for animals at a very young age. By the age of 6 she would spend her summers on a farm in the mountains of France, tending to cows, sheep and goats. It was here that farm life and taking care of creatures large and small, settled in her heart.

After moving to the United States to complete her degree, Agnes relocated to Southern California in 1995.  Very driven, she became an executive for a start-up software translation company and eventually co-founder/ VP of Sales for an internet analytics company in San Diego, CA.  While achieving much success in the corporate world, Agnes decided to make a dramatic change in the years to follow. In 2011, she was offered the opportunity to take over the non-profit organization, Hands United for Children, which was founded in 2006. It’s mission: to support children in distressed situations through education, shelter, health and individual welfare. With a philanthropic spirit and a results oriented focus, Agnes accepted and became the non-profit’s Executive Director.

By 2015, with 3 diverse projects, the non-profit grew tremendously and is now serving children from West Africa to California. The most recent passion-project, with Agnes at the helm, is the Children’s Nature Retreat – located in Alpine, CA.  The retreat is a safe haven to domestic, livestock & equine animals of all sorts, specifically designed to help children develop a sense of wonder for nature and its inhabitants through unstructured exploration and learning.

“Improving a child’s life through education and emotional well-being is very important to me. These are the components that the Children’s Nature Retreat is based on. I wanted to create a serene place where children could have fun and learn about the symbiotic connection between man, nature & animals. The retreat welcomes all ages and is a wonderful place to spend the day!”

Currently, Ms. Barrelet serves on the board of the O’Farrell Charter School in Southeast San Diego. She is also serving on the Planning & Development Council for Stevens Cancer Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital.

Cambria Love
Business Office Manager

Cambria completed her Associates in Paralegal Studies in 2001 and spent the next 15 years working as a Legal Assistant, as well as Legal Office Management and Human Resources. She brings to the table great organization skills, knowledge and experience. Her enthusiasm, professionalism and team player attitude contribute to making Children’s Nature Retreat a great place to work and play.

“I am honored to be a part of the Children’s Nature Retreat, to contribute to a place where the animals are kept safe and happy, and where children and adults alike can visit to experience the joys of connection.”

Fun Fact: Cambria once rode a camel in an Oasis in Morocco, Africa. Perhaps that’s why our sweet camel, Banfora, stole her heart when she first met him.

Lupita Montoya
Guest Relations Specialist








Sarah Crane
Barn Manager / Animal Keeper







Tim Fitzgerald
Grounds Manager








Vanessa Barrelet
Muse and Junior Volunteer Coordinator