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Association for Environmental & Outdoor education

AEOE strengthens environmental education in California by connecting providers, building professional expertise, and championing environmental literacy and outdoor learning.

The passing of two treasured community members

August 10, 2021 4:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Dear Environmental and Outdoor Education Community,

We recently learned about the deaths of two valuable members of our community. Please join us in celebrating their lives and contributions to environmental and outdoor education. 

With care,

Your friends at AEOE


We were greatly saddened to hear of the recent deaths of two environmental and outdoor learning champions: 

rikki (lowercase preferred) Shackelford

rikki was a long time AEOE member, regular conference attendee, and was honored as the Northern Environmental Educator of the Year in 2005. A falconer, poet, and gifted educator with a deep passion for nature, rikki touched the lives of countless students and staff through his career, including time spent at Web of Life Field (WOLF) School, Exploring New Horizons, Lawrence Hall of Science, and Bay Area Teen Science. rikki’s passing was unexpected and he will be greatly missed by our community. 

Photo: rikki and his red-tailed hawk

Tom Preston

A 2013 Howard Bell awardee for lifetime achievement in environmental and outdoor education, Tom was the former Camp Director of Camp O-Ongo and Camp O-Ongo Outdoor Education Center in Running Springs, CA. His dear friend Jim Sims, also a long-time AEOE supporter, shared at the time of his award: “I know of no other person whose total life work has so positively impacted the lives of thousands of children and youth as they were involved in outdoor education and camping under Tom’s leadership.” In addition to his contributions to the field, Tom was a valued husband, father, grandfather, brother, mentor, counselor, veteran, and friend.

Photo: Tom, receiving the Howard Bell Award in 2013

Please join us in sending condolences to Tom and rikki’s loved ones and helping us to honor their memories. 


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