What We Do



The Spring Rivers Foundation Outdoor Education Program uses real-world science to enhance the fun and relevance of learning for kindergarten through high school aged students in Shasta County.

Our team of local scientists and educators designed a program that integrates academic standards with local natural resources through Place-Based Learning using several outdoor learning laboratories.

A team of over seventy volunteer docents and many local organizations help to make the program a success. The Outdoor Education Program is designed to grow connections between individuals, the community, and our surroundings by creating unique outdoor learning opportunities that connect students and adults with the natural world and promote physical activity.

The Leaders

Allison Breedveld, Education Director

Allison Breedveld, Education Director

Allison enjoys teaching and exploring the natural world, so she jumped at the chance to join the original Education Team in 2007 to help shape the current Spring Rivers Foundation Outdoor Education Program. She has a Master’s degree in Avian Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Avian Science and Wildlife Conservation from the University of California, Davis. Allison is a Natural Resources Instructor for Shasta College in Redding and a board member for Friends of the Intermountain Libraries in Burney. Allison received a North State 20 Under 40 Emerging Leaders Award in 2011 for demonstrating leadership, initiative, and innovation in her profession and the community.

Allison served in many educational roles including, Spring Rivers Foundation Education Coordinator for ten years, International AP Environmental Science Exam Reader, GATE Science teacher for Burney and Fall River elementary schools, Master Gardener and Garden Club Coordinator for Burney Elementary School, math and study skills teacher for Sylvan Learning Center, and AVID Tech Online Science Tutor for Shasta Union High School District. She has participated in many environmental education courses and workshops, including Adopt-A-Watershed/Earthwater Institute, Creek Freaks, Forestry Institute for Teachers, Planning of Wetlands, and Wonders of Wetlands and is a trained Facilitator for Project WET and Project Learning Tree.

Allison volunteered as a Naturalist and Animal Handler for Carter House Natural Science Museum and Turtle Bay Exploration Park for nine years, a Sacramento Zoo Keeper Aid Intern, 4-H Poultry Project Leader, and served as a Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Technical Advisory Committee Member.

Her research experience includes the National Parrot Welfare Study, independent research in American Studies, the Psittacine Research Project, the Yolo County Raptor Survey (UC Davis), and the Geological Study “Tetons on the Move” in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (UC Santa Barbara).


Lauren Bridgeman, Education Coordinator

Lauren is a biologist with Bachelor's degrees in Zoology and Marine Biology from Humboldt State University, Arcata.  She is excited to be working with Spring Rivers Outdoor Education to share her passion for biology and stewardship with the next generation of citizen scientists. 

The Team


Koen Breedveld

Koen is an entomologist and aquatic ecologist with a Master’s degree in Entomology from Washington State University, Pullman, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from California State University, Chico. Koen came to Burney in 2003 and has been studying the ecology of aquatic species in northeastern California since.

Koen’s special focus is studying the demographics of the foothill yellow-legged frog population in the Pit River. Other research interests include other amphibians, aquatic insects, the endangered Shasta crayfish, aquatic and terrestrial molluscs, and medium to large-size carnivores.

In 1999 Koen was involved in on-site operational management of a butterfly exhibit and its butterflies, parasitoids, plants, and volunteers and education of arthropod biology for adults, children, and museum volunteers at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, California. Since then, Koen has been involved with many other activities that helped bring students and the public in contact with the wonderful nature of insects. Koen also enjoys taking teenagers and adults into the field with him to study the foothill yellow-legged frogs and provide them with an eye-opening experience within the local environment.


 Jeff Cook

Jeff has a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than two decades of consulting experience studying aquatic ecology and geomorphology of rivers and streams. He has extensive experience in both fields and has worked throughout California, as well as in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Georgia. Jeff worked out of the San Francisco Bay Area for EA Engineering and Stillwater Sciences before moving to northeastern California in 1995 to work with Maria in the business that would become Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences.

Jeff became interested in outdoor education during a week-long Yosemite high country trip that was part of his high school Advanced Placement Biology class. Jeff later became a counselor for these trips as well as for the 5th-grade outdoor education camps.


Maria Ellis

Maria has a Doctorate in Aquatic Ecology from the Department of Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Master’s degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Maria first came to the Intermountain Area of northeastern California in 1990 and has been studying the ecology of aquatic species in northeastern California ever since. Maria is an expert on the federally and state-listed endangered Shasta crayfish. She wrote the draft recovery plan for CDFG and assisted USFWS in the preparation of the final recovery plan for the Shasta crayfish, which was approved in 1998.

Maria’s interest in outdoor education began at an early age when she had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor education program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; she later became a counselor for this program. During her doctoral studies, Maria was a named member of the Committee on Pedagogy for the Central Committee on the Undergraduate Experience, a nominated member of the Graduate Student Forum for the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and an elected member of the Curriculum Committee for the Department of Biology. Maria was the recipient of an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the University of Michigan.


Andrew Mayancsik

Andrew is a science teacher at Fall River High School.  He teaches Biology, 7th Grade Science, Physics, and Robotics.  Andrew graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology Education  He has collaborated on various science curriculum projects such as the North State Stem Project and The California Science Project, and provided consulting on science related activities for various programs.


Stacey Bower


Stacey graduated from Sonoma High School in 2001 and from Chico State in 2005. She began her teaching career at Turtle Bay School in Redding before accepting her position as a teacher in the Intermountain Area. Stacey has enjoyed her years teaching 4th-6th grades in the Fall River Joint Unified School District, first at Fall River and currently at Burney Elementary School.

When thinking about what she should dress up as for “career day,” Stacey chose to be a teacher, since there is nothing else she would rather do. She loves seeing her “school kids” each day and getting hugs from all her former students. Stacey also enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, fly fishing, and traveling. If given the chance, the mother of two loves travelling with her family to one of her favorite destinations, which include Yellowstone National Park in Montana, and, closer to home in California, Soda Springs and Crescent City.

Stacey is amazed by the number of students who have not hiked local trails until they attend their first Spring Rivers Foundation hike and recognizes the importance of students exploring their natural surroundings. After one of the annual Spring Rivers Foundation hikes, she loved hearing one fifth grade student say, “Mrs. Bower, this has been awesome! I want to have my dad bring me back here this weekend!”


Kim Brown

Kim is a primary grade school teacher with ten years experience with Fall River Joint Unified School District. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Ag Business Management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a teaching credential from California State University at Chico. Kim taught third grade in Burney, before moving to Fall River Elementary where she taught in a Title 1 position focusing on reading instruction. Since that time she has been in the classroom teaching at fifth grade, fourth/fifth combo, first/second combo, and second grade.

Kim worked as a ranch hand on cattle ranches in Big Sur and Alturas, before becoming part owner of a hay and cattle ranch in McArthur, California, which is what brought her and her family to this area.

Download our Brochure!

Spring Rivers Outdoor Education Brochure (pdf)