Meet the Staff


Quail (Shannon Cueva)
Quail is Shady Creek’s Program Director. She has been with the Outdoor School since she was hired as an Intern Naturalist in 2006. Originally from Oroville, California, Shannon first fell in love with environmental education when she attended Woodleaf as a sixth grader. Quail attended California State University, Chico where she earned a degree in Recreation Administration. She appreciates having a job where she can work with an outstanding staff, and meet amazing children from all over Northern California. Shannon loves spending time with her husband, Yeti, and her sons. She also enjoys playing bass with her family’s rock-n-roll band.




Yeti (Chris Little)
Christopher Storm Little, better known as “Yeti”, is the Coordinator of the Shady Creek Outdoor School program. He started his career at Woodleaf Outdoor School twelve years ago and was part of the original team that helped move the program to its current location. Chris was very lucky to have met his future wife Shannon Cueva or “Quail” during his first year at Woodleaf, and takes great joy managing the Shady Creek program with her. One of his favorite highlights was in 2010 when he, along with his twin brother Jason Little, were honored by being named the Environmental Educators of the Year for the state of California.





Ibis (Ian Gledhill)
Ibis is a credentialed science teacher who has worked in environmental education for over nineteen seasons and in the classroom for two years. Ibis also has his bachelor of science in natural resources interpretation. His work includes time spent as a park ranger in both Yellowstone and Redwood National and State Parks as well as the director of Pal Camp in Freshwater, California. Ibis is excited to be working at Shady Creek Outdoor School, the same program that he visited as a sixth grade student, high school cabin leader, and finally as a student naturalist. Ibis is a huge bird nerd and he spends his free time on adventures trying to find as many bird species as possible. As Lead Naturalist, Ibis is working his dream job and living happily in the mountains with his wife Chickadee and daughter Hazel.



Madrone (Kelly Casey)
Madrone is a California native, born and raised in the Salinas Valley, and this is her fifth school year at Shady Creek. A credentialed teacher, Madrone is particularly passionate about sharing the night sky, funny bugs, sustainability, and music with Shady Creek students. During the summer of 2016, Madrone pioneered Shady Creek’s summer camp program with her co-coordinator Echo. When students and campers ask her about her career, she tells them that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. When she’s not with kids exploring nature or singing ‘round the campfire, Madrone is probably knitting/crocheting, writing, eating a veggie burger, improving her amateur disc golf technique, or riding on a train. Call her Mo for short.



Rhododendron (Michael Shanahan)
Rhododendron is entering his third year at Shady Creek. He considers teaching in the garden, exploring the creek, and hiking the hills with students the most rewarding parts of Shady Creek. With a background of working at San Joaquin Outdoor Education in the costal redwoods and graduating from Humboldt State (Go Jacks!), he is excited to apply inquiry-based teaching to the mountains. Receiving a B.S in environmental policy and a B.A in recreation administration, he is passionate about the garden as well as growing leadership and facilitating new nature experiences in others. Rhododendron’s top stories to read on trail are Just a Dream by Chris Van Allsburg and The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. He also likes to tell nature legends on night hikes.





Echo (Bethany Thomas)
Echo is at Shady Creek for her fifth year. She came from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Growing up in a city did not give her much time outside. While at Penn State, she participated in an Outdoor School program and saw how important it is for kids learn about the environment they live in. After a few years of being part of such an amazing program, she realized that she was on the path she wanted to continue on after graduating with a degree in Wildlife and Fishery Sciences. Her goal while being at Shady Creek is to help students find something they care about in nature so they can teach people about it and to show them that they can make a difference.





Osprey (Jessica Goldman)
Osprey grew up in Apex, North Carolina, and majored in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina (Go Wolfpack!). Osprey enjoys hiking, reading, spending time with friends, and traveling.  Osprey is super excited to meet all the students attending Shady Creek this school year, and is looking forward to exploring all that Northern California has to offer!




Marc BarkMarc Bark (Marc La Fazia)
Marc Bark or Bark Marc (it’s reversible!) is excited to be here on the Shady Creek Staff as a Naturalist. He was born and raised in Yuba City, and attended Shady Creek a total of five times as a cabin leader before being hired as a Student Naturalist in 2014. Bark Marc’s passion for music grows with his passion for teaching. His favorite part of Shady Creek are the songs because they blend both of his passions into one.






OtterOtter (Lauren Orman)
Otter grew up camping and hiking with her family, forming a love of nature from a young age. She has fond memories of both her weeks of outdoor education as a sixth grader and high school cabin leader. She studied Recreation and Park Management at Sacramento State and spent many summers in college working at summer camp. While a native Californian, Otter loves to travel and recently returned from adventures in Thailand and Fiji. She loves exploring outside with students and having fun in nature.




Sassafrass (Cami Bruggner)
A Wisconsin native, Sassafras graduated with a BS in Communications Studies with an emphasis on conflict and negotiation from Arizona State University.  She has spent seventeen years teaching children in outdoor education. She was employed for thirteen years at a pesticide free working farm in Arizona where she taught students about agriculture and animal husbandry.  She also has been a naturalist for four years at various outdoor education centers in Southern California.  She loves being a part of the Shady Creek family.





Anemone (Emily Baxter)
Anemone loves puns and silly jokes, walks on the beach, dahlias, and, most importantly, is super excited to be on the Shady Creek team as a Naturalist. Growing up, her love for nature started with the tide pools at the beach and spending summers in the Sierras. Nowadays her summers are spent backpacking with kids at summer camp and working at state parks. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation to hopefully inspire others to find a love for the natural world as well.





Dragon (Alvaro Jauregui)
Dragon grew up in Yuba City. He is a Student Naturalist








MinnowMinnow (Margie Johnson)
Minnow is a Student Naturalist for the 2017/2018 school year. She chose Minnow as her nature name because she loves swimming and her favorite place to be is Lake Tahoe. The reason she’s at Shady Creek is because she loves teaching children and being part of such an amazing community. Shady Creek is one of the places where she feels most at home. This year her goal is to always have fun and grow as a person and a teacher.







Squirrel (Spencer Faith)
Squirrel is a student naturalist this year. He graduated from Chico High in 2017 and is now currently enrolled in online classes at Butte. In his free time he enjoys music and reading and prefers exploring outside and climbing trees rather than TV or video games or any such thing. After Shady Creek he plans to finish Butte College to study chemistry, music, or both. He is most excited for playing with the kids and sharing his enthusiasm for the outdoors.





Yarrow (Lynsey Brydon)
Yarrow grew up in the Bay Area just outside of San Francisco and found her love for the outdoors exploring the redwood forest. She attended San Mateo Outdoor Education as a fifth grader, then as a cabin leader over thirty times during high school. From this year she hopes to learn new teaching strategies and pass on her love for the natural world with the kids who attended Shady Creek.





AnacondaAnaconda (Ashley Nicolas)
Anaconda graduated from Wheatland Union High School last year, and has been a student naturalist ever since! She’s loved Shady Creek ever since she came here herself in fifth grade. In her free time you can find her hanging out at the creek or eating a burger in the dining hall!






BearBear (Brian Matthews)
Bear is a simple man, he enjoys breakfast foods, long walks on the beach, Clydesdale horses, nature, orange marmalade, and anything with pesto sauce with pine nuts. He grew up in Yuba City and decided to make it his goal to be part of the Shady Creek staff after his weeklong visit in the fifth grade. Making any kid’s visit to Shady Creek an amazing time is his biggest focus.




Grizzly grew up in Paradise. He is a Student Naturalist.






Jaguar is an Eagle Scout and wants to become a child psychologist. He is passionate about teaching and comes from Yuba City.







Monarch grew up in Sutter and graduated from Sutter High School last year. She loves the great outdoors and going on hikes. She also has a passion or teaching children and hopes to become a special education teacher. If you ever see her on campus come give her a high five or hug!

From the entire Shady Creek Staff a big “Boomshakalaka” we look forward to meeting you!