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Meet Our Team

We pride ourselves in providing students, parents, and teachers

with staff that go above and beyond to help provide a unique

and educational experience for all.

Our staff come to us with bachelor degrees in the fields of environmental science or education and have experience working with

school-aged children in outdoor educational settings.

We require all employees to have background checks and require staff to maintain current CPR & First Aid certifications.

Click on a staff member's name to send them an email.

Executive Director


Emily, or ‘Water Droplet,’ was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. She studied at the University of Nevada, Reno where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in December 2021. She is highly passionate about wildlife and enjoys the outdoors and traveling as well as expressing her creative side with different types of art. Fun fact: Emily came here to Great Basin Outdoor School as a student when she was in 5th grade and has stuck with her nature name since! She has now been working with Great Basin Outdoor School for over two years and enjoys every second of it!

Development Coordinator & Lead Naturalist


Derik grew up in Redding, California, where he was introduced to the great outdoors at an early age through camping and scouting trips, and moved to Reno to study political science at the University of Nevada. While never forgetting his Cascadia roots, Derik is excited to explore the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin ecologies and share insights with a younger generation of students. After graduating, Derik stayed in the area and worked in grant writing and research for local education and economic development nonprofit organizations. When not in the office or outside classroom, Derik likes to cross-country hike, snowshoe, rockhound in the mountains or high desert, and play guitar.




Hannah aka “Desert Pancake” was raised in Reno and from a young age learned that nature was her kind of playground. Growing up in such an outdoor lovers paradise led to many lifelong passions such as mountain biking, hiking, paddleboarding, snowshoeing and wildlife photography. She translated that love of nature towards a bachelors degree in biology and chemistry minor from the University of Nevada, Reno. If she isn’t gallivanting outdoors somewhere you will likely find her on a soccer field either playing or coaching youth soccer.




Rongshu "Otter" grew up in Jinan, China. She developed a interest in rocks, plants, and bugs since the time she spent playing in the mountains around her hometown as a kid. That eventually led her to earn a degree in geology in college. She likes hiking and is a skiing newbie. When she is not out in nature, she reads, watches anime, and comes up with strange combinations of food. Having the experience of leading reading groups for grade school students, she is very excited to share and explore nature together with kids. 




Jake, or "Manta," grew up in Reno and spent much of his childhood outside. Whether it was playing sports, camping, fishing, or hiking he was always outside. He fell in love with the beauty of nature and the countless intricacies within it. With that, he's currently studying at The College of Idaho pursuing a bachelor's degree in environmental studies. If he's not exploring natural wonders, you will likely find him emerged in sports.



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Monica grew up on a dairy farm in northern New York near the Canadian border, where she spent countless hours running free and playing on 300 acres.  She chose “Maple” as her nature name, because there were many maple trees there and they tapped trees to collect the sap and make their own maple syrup.  That is where her love and appreciation of nature and the great outdoors began.  She has lived in the Reno area since August, 1977. Today, Monica continues to hike, snow ski and snowshoe.  She also is a state licensed substitute teacher for the Washoe County School System, where she chooses to substitute in the elementary schools.  It is a wonderful experience to share nature with those who appreciate it.



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Julia grew up in Connecticut and studied psychology at the University of Connecticut. After graduating, she moved to Tahoe to snowboard, but stays for the hiking, cold plunges, camping, and community. She has worked as a kids snowboard instructor, kayak guide, backpacking guide, trail crew, program director, and forest school teacher. With additional training in nature interventions for trauma, forest therapy guiding, and universal design for learning, she finds purpose in facilitating meaningful connections for kids of all backgrounds and abilities to experience the healing power of nature.




Ed enjoyed a 32-year career with the federal government as a Forester, Snow Ranger, Lands and Minerals manager, and on the wildland fire team for the U.S. Forest Service in Carson City, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Ed ended his career as a Water and Lands specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation. He has a B.S. degree in Forest Management Science. Since retiring in 2012 he has been volunteering with local environmental education organizations and church youth activities. His passions include gardening, hiking, skiing, and stand-up paddling.


Naturalist/NGSS Specialist


Pete Fairley, aka Woodpecker, joined GBOS after retiring from teaching high school science in Reno.  His love of exploring the outdoors with a paddle, skis, scuba tank, running shoes, bike, camera, and binoculars (not all at the same time!) are matched by his passion for sharing the amazing world of nature with young people.  He thrives on travel both within and beyond the US, and he plays a variety of percussion instruments from around the globe.  The more he learns about our incredible planet and all its creatures, the more he recognizes the depth of Charles Darwin’s statement that “there is grandeur in this view of life!”


Associate Fun Provider


Mike "Bear" Masterpool is a life long outdoor enthusiast.  He enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, exploring new, wild places, snow skiing, kayaking and fishing.  A retired US Marine, he has traveled the world operating in every clime and place, from the tropics to arctic environs and across oceans and seas to amazing mountainous places.  He has been active in Boy Scouts, Church camp and outdoor leadership training programs for over thirty years.  Group games, team challenges and shared experiences are the fun ways to develop personal responsibility, leadership and teams.  Bear believes in developing virtues, values and personal ethics to make good citizens and allow people to value life and respect others.

Board President, Founding Member


Sky grew up in Reno, graduated with honors from the University of Nevada, Reno, and had a long teaching career with Washoe County School District.  She volunteers for Great Basin Outdoor School in her retirement years, and her contributions to natural resource education have been recognized by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada Natural Resource Education Council, Nevada Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and the Washoe-Storey Conservation District.  Skiing, kayaking, travel, photography, spending time with friends, and learning new skills keep Sue out of trouble...most of the time.

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