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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 eighteen 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. 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.
Bonsai (Beth Myers)
Bonsai is a 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.

Canine (Paris Lilly Rickards)

Canine is a Naturalist from Paradise, CA, who started her teaching career after the destructive Camp Fire in 2018. Since then she has fallen in love with working in the outdoors, introducing students to the wonders of nature. She is entering her third season at Shady Creek, and her fourth year teaching in outdoor education. She is excited to continue growing in her career, and is dedicating her time to completing an Environmental Educator Certification Course to gain more knowledge to support her students. Canine can be found in her off time hanging out in the raptor center, cuddling her two rats, reading in a hammock, or singing with the moon. Her favorite part of shady creek is the memories she gets to make with classes, and the freedom she gives to her students, to have one week to just be a kid.

Grizzly (Logan Peterson)

Grizzly first fell in love with outdoor ed when he visited Shady Creek as a cabin leader. The next year, he joined the program as a Student Naturalist, when he realized working with students in education was his passion. In the following years he attended Cal Poly Humboldt, studying Environmental Science, growing his understanding of education and interpretation. Grizzly has returned to Shady Creek as a Naturalist in hopes to inspire students to discover more about the natural world and themselves.

Manzanita (Jordyn Lamb)

Manzanita was born and raised in Chico, California. She spent her time as a kid playing outside, messing around in the orchards, and camping whenever she got the chance. As a Girl Scout for 13 years, Manzanita spent a lot of time building for her love for the outdoors and what she could give back to it. After spending 6 years teaching nature programs for Boy Scouts, she finally got the opportunity to see real outdoor education as a cabin leader at Shady Creek. From there she was hooked on outdoor education, and made it her mission to be involved with it for as long as she could! Manzanita was a student naturalist from 2018-2019, and has now come back again for her first year as a senior naturalist. Manzanita graduated from CalPoly Humboldt in May 2023 with a degree in Environmental Science and Management, focusing on Environmental Education and Interpretation. She is excited to take all that she has learned and all of her experiences to contribute to the program. Outside of Shady Creek, Manzanita enjoys reading, camping, exploring nature, and hanging out with her family and friends!

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, loving, funny, spontaneous, down to earth person who loves to make any new friends! He worked at Dutch Bros for a few years prior to returning back to Shady Creek after his Student-Naturalist season in 2018-19. He loves spending most of his time outdoors, hiking, snowboarding, DJing for fun and traveling to see new places to go on adventures. He loves to find new ways to give back to his and others communities, being in Oroville, Chico, Yuba City, and in the local Nevada City area. Tahoe is also a huge D&D, acting, sports, and video game fan when he finds the time to enjoy those! 


Teal (Raina McConnell)

Teal is a 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

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! 

Aurora (Audrey Cline)

Aurora is a student naturalist from Arbuckle CA. She grew up loving the outdoors and working with the land as a part of a cattle ranching family. She worked the past three summers teaching swimming lessons for K-5 summer school which is where she discovered her love for teaching. She is so excited to see kids grow and learn during their week here at Shady Creek!

Cheeseburger (Sebastian Walker)

Cheeseburger found something unique in Shady Creek when he first came as a student which encouraged him to then come back as a cabin leader. His work with kids expands outside of outdoor education as he loves coaching sports. He also enjoys hiking, fishing, meditation, and the energy of others.

Doe (Suzanne McNellis (Walker))

Born in Nevada and traveled across the states, Doe finally settled in California as of 2015. She loves to travel and find new experiences. Landing in Oroville by the time she reached 6th grade, she was able to see the magic of Shady Creek first hand! Doe had the most magical time as a student and knew from the great experience she was given she would come back as a cabin leader and dedicate herself to becoming a Naturalist. Because of this, in her free time with kids and the outdoors she became a naturalist with the goal of sharing the enjoyment with others. In her free time, Doe is a person of many talents and loves to spend time with family and friends in all sort of ways. She is often seen camping, dancing, singing, playing drums and even going to church to participate and lead in worship! Doe can’t wait to spread the enjoyment of nature and life with others, along with all the fun things she gets to learn along the way.


Flame (Bailey Braxton)

Flame grew up in the outskirts of Marysville in Plumas Lake CA. They decide to come to shady creek after deciding to wait a year to go to college. They are excited to work in the raptor center and connect with nature and it’s animals. They have always loved animals their dog Baxter can be seen in the photo. They are a very curious person and loves to help others. Flame hopes to learn as much as they can this next year and to help as many kids as possible enjoy their time at shady creek. Boomshakalaka!!

Panda (Pandora Edwards)

Panda is a graduate from Wheatland Union High School. She came to shady creek last year as a cabin leader and fell in love with the program. Panda knew that working with children was in her future, and is excited to be at Shady Creek and work on her teaching skills. She enjoys reading, crafts, sewing, crocheting, hanging out with friends and family, and copious amounts of pasta.


Petrichor loves the outdoors and hopes to share it with everyone! Any chance he can get, he spends time with nature. He loves to share and listen to music with others and, of course, the rain. Their love for shady creek and outdoor education originated from attending  when they were a little kid and they've loved it ever since! Petrichor is very excited to start this adventureous year with you all.

Raven (Domonic Smythe)

Raven is a young adult from Yuba City who found love for shady creek his junior year in highschool. He loved being able to explore nature and teach kids a lot about nature. He graduated highschool early and the following year decided to join the Shady Creek Program and hopes to inspire students to learn more about themselves.

Salamander (Sofia Cullison)

Salamander is excited to spend her gap year working hard at Shady Creek. The outdoors has always been a comfort place, from Florida beaches to New York valleys to her now new home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She loves cats, specifically her blind one, reptiles, and all sorts of bugs. Bug collecting and floral arrangements are some silly hobbies of hers. She hopes to get accepted to various colleges to continue her education efforts.

From the entire Shady Creek Staff, a big BOOMSHAKALAKA!

We look forward to meeting you!