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Meet the Staff


Yeti (Chris Little)

Christopher Storm Little, better known as “Yeti”, is the Director of Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center. He started his career at Woodleaf Outdoor School sixteen 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.

Echo (Bethany Thomas)

Bethany Thomas is the Program Coordinator at Shady Creek Outdoor School and Event Center. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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 a part of such an amazing program, she realized that she was on the path she wanted to continue after graduating. Her goal at Shady Creek is to provide students with an opportunity to find something they care about in nature and grow as an indvidual. She truly believes that students can take what they learn during their week at Shady Creek and use it to make the world a better place.

Rhododendron (Michael Shanahan III)

Michael Shanahan is entering his sixth year at Shady Creek. He considers teaching in the garden, exploring the creek and hiking the hills with students the most rewarding part of Shady Creek. With a background of working at San Joaquin Outdoor Education in the coastal redwoods and graduating from Humboldt State (Go Jacks!), he is excited to continue to apply inquiry- based teaching in the mountains. Receiving a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Policy and a Bachelors of Arts in Recreation Administration, he is passionate about the garden as well as growing leadership and facilitating new nature experiences in others. Michael's top stories to read on trail is ‘Just a Dream’, by Chris Van Allsburg, and the ‘Lorax’, by Dr. Seuss, along with telling nature legends on night hikes.

Barley (Bailey Earhart)

Barley has returned to the Tahoe foothills for the Phoenix season of Shady Creek. After taking about six years to explore the outdoor education community of California, working with schools from Santa Barbara to the Santa Cruz coast, Barley found in the end there was no place like home. His passion for and dedication to the experience students receive while spending time in the outdoors is what lifts him outta bed in the morning and fills his cup. Just about two years ago in March of 2020, Barley found himself 4,000 feet up on top of La Cumbre peak. He spoke out onto the land and into the universe wishing for the prosperity of outdoor schools so that the magic of connection would continue to reach those who need it most. Today it’s safe to say his wish was granted.

Dragon (Alvaro Jauregui)

Dragon is a Naturalist from a Yuba City, CA. Ever since his first time going to outdoor school in the fifth grade, he has loved this program and what it offers the local communities. Dragon loves to learn almost as much as he loves to teach.

Fauna (Taylor Beech)

Fauna’s love for Shady Creek began as a student who attended Woodleaf in the 5th grade. Growing up in Yuba City, CA, she has always remembered that magical experience, and it encouraged her to serve as a student naturalist from 2015-2016. Fauna then continued her work with Shady Creek through the FitQuest program, and the Shady Creek Outdoor Education Foundation. She studied English with a focus on literature, and has degrees in English, and Arts and Humanities, through Yuba College. She loves the Romantic period of literature, and while studying it, was drawn to its belief in loving yourself, and forming deep, personal connections with the natural world. She returns as a naturalist, and maintains her passion for teaching and inspiring students to be themselves and connect with nature through outdoor education. In her free time, Fauna enjoys sculpting with clay, animals, sitting in the sun, laughing, hiking, reading, writing, dancing, and music. The Sierra Nevadas are her home, and she believes there’s truly no place more magical.

Goose (Greg Zunino)

Hailing from Yuba City, California, Goose is a naturalist who loves the sun, new experiences, and sharing smiles, laughs, and high-fives with all of the wonderful students who come to Shady Creek. When you hear his magical goose call echoing throughout the forest, remember that you are amazing, loved, and believed in!

Marc Barc (Marc LaFazia)

Hello everyone! I am Mark Bark, or Bark Mark , you can say my name forwards or backwards! I am so excited to be back at Shady Creek! I was a volunteer naturalist in 2014 and have worked some years in-between. Music is one of my main hobbies as well as my favorite part of camp! BOOMSHAKALAKA!!!

Squirrel (Spencer Faith)

Squirrel is back as a full-time naturalist after attending Butte College to study Communication. He worked as a student naturalist from 2017 to 2018 and fell in love with outdoor education. He enjoys climbing trees and exploring with his friends in his hometown, Chico. He sometimes will play the drums for the band but loves dancing with the kids during electric music and fun night. His favorite part of Shady Creek, aside from living in the forest, is when the kids participate and get out of their comfort zones. It pushes him to get out of his comfort zone and inspires him to be a better educator and person. 

Tahoe (Tyler Brown)

Tahoe is an outgoing, fun loving, spontaneous person who loves to make new friends! He worked at Dutch Bros for a few years before returning back to Shady Creek after his Student-Naturalist season. He loves spending most of his time with friends and family while also making time to travel. He goes to House and EDM music festivals regularly. Some other things Tahoe enjoys doing are snowboarding, DJing, hiking, going on road trips, and finding ways to give back to his and others communities. Tahoe is also a huge D&D, sports, and video game fan when he finds the time to enjoy those!

Yarrow (Lynsey Brydon)

Yarrow grew up just outside of San Francisco in San Mateo county exploring the seemingly endless foggy beaches, tide pools, marshes, and Redwood forest (her favorite type of habitat!) with her family. Her love for the natural world was truly unearthed in 5th grade when she attended an environmental education program in the Santa Cruz mountains with her school. It was during that week in the forest that Yarrow discovered that being a Naturalist was what she was destined to do with her life!! Yarrow worked as a Student Naturalist during the 2017 to 2018 school year and is now back for her first year as a Naturalist. In May 2022, Yarrow graduated from CalPoly Humboldt with a degree in Environmental Science and Management with a focus in Environmental Education and Interpretation and is so excited to bring her knowledge and perspective back to the Shady Creek Program! In her free time Yarrow enjoys high-fire ceramics, swimming in the South Yuba River, hanging out with her two cats Amanita & Biscuit, and exploring the natural hidden gems of Nevada County! 
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Honeybee (Bryn Hexberg)

Honey Bee is a student naturalist this year who is also majoring in education in her part time college classes. She came to Shady creek as a 5th grader, and when she returned as a cabin leader, she realized that working with kids is her calling in life. In her free time, Honey bee likes to paddle board, kayak, knit, and rock out to music with her friends. Her favorite part about Shady Creek is that everyday single day is completely unique. 

Mouse (Mathius DeAltonaga)

Mouse is student naturalist at Shady Creek coming straight from high school. In the time he’s been here he has found a new home and a new family. The joy that the children bring him is one of the reasons why he is here. In his free time he likes to meditate, play basketball, hang out with friends and blast music on his speaker.

Olive (Olivia Hicks)

Olive is a student naturalist from Sacramento CA who fell in love with Shady Creek when she first came as a student. She wants to give kids the best week of their life that they will never forget. She is currently majoring in Environmental Science at Sierra College. Olive loves everything outdoors, movies, music, and having fun!! 

Orchid (Jordyn Peterson)

Orchid is a student naturalist who got introduced to Shady Creek by her older brother and immediately fell in love with it. She is currently taking classes at Butte College and working towards her degree. Orchid loves listening to music, going for a swim, and hanging out with friends in her free time. 
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Rosebud (Emma Cope)
Rosebud fell in love with the magic of shady creek many moons ago during her week as a fifth grader and is now back to give all that she gained and then some. People say home is where the heart is and though it may have took some time she managed to make her way back to what she knows to be the true happiest place on earth first as a cabin leader and now as a student naturalist. Rosebud loves getting to have conversations and laughs with anyone and everyone within five feet from her. She is beyond excited to experience magic with all of the students this year!

Talon (Malachi Villalba)


Yukon (Bryant Bales)

The Yukon river stretches from Canada, through all of Alaska, and ends with the coast. Alaska is a special place for me for many reasons being, I want to live there one day, as well as for the natural beauty. I believe that true beauty is found through hardship and struggle, so when experienced what is found is not taken for granted, and is appreciated. Alaska is no doubt one of the harshest places to live on earth, but with intense livelihood, births a magical place where pure beauty is found. That’s why I choose the name Yukon.

Bonsai (Beth Myers)

Bonsai is a volunteer naturalist that is currently working on her Bachelor's in Elementary Education and her teaching credentials at Chadron State College in Nebraska. She grew up with both parents in the military. Through this she learned the importance of connection, friendship, and new experiences.  Bonsai's love for outdoor education started when she attended Woodleaf as a 5th-grade student. She continued to be impacted by Shady Creek in 8th grade, as a high school cabin leader and a Student Naturalist in 2014-15. After her Student Naturalist year, she continued to serve her community with six years of experience in outdoor education, after-school programs, non-profit organizations, and public schools. Bonsai is not only passionate about education, but she also has a love for the planet, skateboarding, creativity, traveling, and family. Bonsai's goal while at Shady Creek is to share her love of learning with her future students.

Teal (Raina McConnell)

Teal is a first year intern naturalist from Orange County, Ca. She graduated from SDSU studying graphic design but her love for the outdoors and working with children brought her to shady creek. She works at River Way Ranch camp during the summer and in her free time she enjoys camping, reading, painting, slack lining, and watching the clouds go by.

From the entire Shady Creek Staff, a big BOOMSHAKALAKA!

We look forward to meeting you!