2019 Northern EE'er of the Year - Michael Shanahan Image

2019 Northern EE'er of the Year - Michael Shanahan

Michael "Rhododendron" Shanahan has made significant valuable contributions to two environmental education programs and an outdoor summer camp. In every capacity, he brings his never-ending enthusiasm, work-ethic, and desire to improve programs with him. Michael was nominated by colleagues and supervisors at San Joaquin Outdoor Education, YMCA Camp Jones Gulch, and Shady Creek Outdoor School & Event Center.

During the 2013-2014 year as a brand new naturalist at SJOE, Michael went above and
beyond, building a cob oven in the program’s garden. At Summer Camp at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch, Michael is an Assistant Camp Director who firmly believes that no job is below his pay grade – he will do whatever it takes to support the campers, whether teaching them how to
sew, leading an outdoor cooking specialty (in the cob oven he built), or driving campers and staff on the bus (which he calls the Mike Express!) When challenges arise, his positivity keeps camper and staff spirits high.

Michael has spearheaded many projects at Shady Creek that have improved the school. He has partnered with a local Boy Scout troop and helped two young men earn their Eagle Scout rank by coordinating the construction of a Cobb oven for the Shady Creek Garden, and coordinating the planting and care of a fruit tree orchard. And finally, Michael has contributed many ideas and procedures for improving safety at Shady Creek and making the response to emergencies more formalized and effective.

In Rhody’s words, "It is a great honor for me to receive this award. Also I want to send an appreciation to my family and all in the AEOE community who:
? Guide students to “ah- ha” moments, and ignite inquire fever about the world around them,
? show students that they are scientists everyday,
? and to all those who create a community that allows students to be who they want to be, and they walk away saying ‘I am best, in the whole world, in being me.’
I am one person who thinks during a skit night performance on how many other disappearing log skits are going on across the state. I smile because we are instilling self confidence in students. I smile because we have a collective positive impact and building positive communities. Thank you."

Rhody, we thank you for your contributions to the Environmental and Outdoor Education community!