Welcome Becky, Our New Youth Education Program Manager!

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Becky Yaeger (she/her) just joined our team! We warmly welcome her to The Environmental Center.

In this role, Becky will manage several Youth Education programs including EarthSmart for 4-5th graders, about sustainability, waste reduction, and resource conservation, and Outdoor School Days for K-5th graders, where classes spend a day outside focusing on nature connection, experiential learning, and natural science concepts. Also, she will support a high school-led group called the Green Leadership Coalition that formed in late 2021 and will be continuing and hopefully growing over the next several years. Becky comes to The Environmental Center after 4.5 years doing conservation education with Discover Your Forest here in Central Oregon. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience in environmental education and outdoor learning and she has a M.S. in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University. We are thrilled to work with Becky and excited for her fresh ideas to grow our Youth Education programs in local schools.

Becky is currently leading our Eco Hero Adventure and Forest Explorer summer camp programs, and will jump into school program planning for the 2022-23 school year soon. She is really looking forward to getting to know all the Youth Education Programs at TEC and working with Wesley Yoder who will also be joining the team as the Youth Education Program Coordinator. Together, they will facilitate the programs and over time incorporate new ideas. It will be exciting to see how things transition in the future. 

You can reach Becky at becky@envirocenter.org or Zoom phone # 541-414-3978.

We asked Becky some questions to get to know her a little better and to formally introduce her to the TEC community. Here is what she had to say:

Q: What is your favorite part about being in the field of youth education, especially environmental/outdoor education?

My favorite aspect of outdoor education is working with students and helping them to develop a strong connection with nature. I love being in the field or the classroom with them, learning about the different actions they can take to care for the earth. 

Q: Can you remember anything that you did or learned as a young person that inspired you to work in environmental education as an adult?

As a young person, I had the opportunity to step outside my door and access natural places, and undeveloped places. As I grew up, I watched these open spaces become more and more developed. When I was a freshman, or so, in Undergrad I came across Richard Louv’s book Last Child in The Woods and it made sense to me that children were growing up with spaces that are no longer open or natural. It is getting more challenging for children to step outside their home and explore. It became my passion to make sure children have those opportunities just like I did. 

Q: Describe one of your favorite moments you’ve had while outdoors with students.

In my previous job, I would run snowshoe programs for 4th graders. It was really neat to get school groups from Redmond or Madras where it snows a lot less than it does in the mountains. They thought they knew what snow conditions were like, and then they come up to Mt. Bachelor during a snowstorm and are just blown away by the incredible amounts of snow coming down on them. It is really special to see them in a place that is so different from what they have experienced, and to teach them the connections to the places that they live through our watershed systems. 

Q: When you’re not working, what other activities or hobbies do you enjoy?

I really like taking hikes, going kayaking, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and going camping. I have been really into creating a pollinator garden at my house, and I am constantly dreaming of all the native plants I want to include to make it more diverse over time. I also like cooking and going to local farmers’ markets, and I’ve been making a lot of Mediterranean dishes lately. 

Q: If you could be any non-human animal, what animal would you be and why?

Tough one! I will say, a fisher (weasel) is my favorite animal. I have had the honor of seeing one on the East coast, and one on the West coast. When I first found it I had no idea what it was, I had never seen anything like it. I found the name of the animal and researched it, and found a really fun kind of forest weasel. There are lots of fun facts about the species, especially about how the fisher hunts. They are kind of rare, and I don’t quite know why I would want to be one. I like how unique they are, being able to do things like climb down a tree head first even as a larger animal.