PARENTS AND STUDENTS
Cal-Wood’s Science-Based Environmental Education Programs are residential, outdoor immersion programs for students of all ages. With each school, Cal-Wood education staff partner with visiting teachers to tailor a specific set of learning objectives that are relevant to the needs of the students, and support STEM learning objectives. Cal-Wood’s 1,200-acre pristine classroom provides hands-on learning experiences to students of all ages in all curricular areas. For example, students can learn math, science, and critical thinking, and issue analysis skills by collecting and processing data about the effects of pine beetles on trees, soil, and water.In all programming, Cal-Wood incorporates best practices in environmental and STEM education, breaks down socio-economic barriers for nature-based learning, innovates strategies to best engage linguistically diverse students, and models conservation and stewardship.
ARE YOU A PARENT CHAPERONE?
You can download our parent chaperone handbook here.
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy life to help make this experience as meaningful as possible for our students! This handbook has all of the information you need to be prepared for your responsibilities as a chaperone.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Student Preparedness Videos
YOUR CAL-WOOD EDUCATION TEAM
JARED MAZUREK, M.A.
Director of School Programs
Jared's favorite thing about working at Cal-Wood is the relationships he is able to develop with all of the teachers that we work with. The commitment and dedication that they demonstrate toward providing life-changing environmental education experiences for their students is truly inspiring.
JACKIE JEAMBEY, B.S.
School Programs Coordinator
Jackie's favorite thing about working at Cal-Wood is the growth she sees in each student from their first day to their last day at Cal-Wood, as well as the incredible diversity in the ecology and landscape throughout the seasons.
MEET YOUR FIELD INSTRUCTORS
Here to Help Students Learn and Grow
KYLE DONAHUE, M.A.
Originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, Kyle grew up exploring the green forests and trails of the Chattahoochee River. For college, Kyle moved across the country to Boulder to obtain a bachelors and masters degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a bachelors in Psychology. For his theses, Kyle studied Barn Swallows and their nesting behavior and also helped out trapping and studying birds in a variety of habitats, including the Californian desert and the Yukon territory of Canada. Other than finding cool things in nature, in his free time Kyle enjoys running ultramarathons and rock climbing, fly-fishing and backpacking. Having found a life-long connection with the outdoors, he enjoys helping kids discover their passion in nature within the setting of the Colorado mountains at Cal-Wood.
THOMAS EYLER, B.S.
Thomas was born in Ohio and soon after moved to the foothills of the Appalachians. While growing up, he spent his time hiking, hunting for bugs and building forts in the woods. He went to Jacksonville State University and earned a B.S in Geography. Since graduating, Thomas has worked at experiential education centers in Alabama, Tennessee and now in Colorado. Nowadays you can find him still enjoying his favorite past-times, as well as backpacking, napping and playing frisbee. Thomas' favorite thing about Cal-Wood is exploring all around the 1200 acre property.
MADDIE LEH, B.A.
Maddie Leh is a Field Instructor at Cal-Wood Education Center. She was born and raised in Louisville, Colorado and is so thrilled to be back in the Rocky Mountains, guiding and encouraging youth to connect to the same mountains she came to love as a child. Maddie holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Anthropology and is planning to pursue a Master's in Nonprofit Management starting in the Fall. Maddie has worked in the Environmental Education field for the past three years, as a Field Instructor and Course Director at SOAR in North Carolina and as a Senior Instructor at Pali Institute in California. In this field, one of her main goals is to give all youth the opportunity to connect to nature regardless of socioeconomic background, ability, or experience. When not teaching or preparing new curriculum at Cal-Wood, Maddie enjoys hiking, backpacking, climbing, biking, cross-country skiing, watercoloring cards, and baking pies.
CHRIS MITCHELL, B.S.
Chris Mitchell (Chip) grew up close to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and would often take weekend trips to explore the mountains. He also grew up hiking and exploring the forest near his house before moving to Ohio where he eventually got into rock climbing. He studied at Green Mountain College, receiving a BA in Psychology and a BS in Adventure Education, concentrating in wilderness therapy. He has worked for the past 5 years at various Environmental Education centers from NY to CA. After coming to Cal-Wood as a chaperone, Chip was overjoyed to join the Cal-Wood team. When not teaching, Chip enjoys rock climbing and hiking. His favorite thing about Cal-Wood is the freedom we have when teaching and creating meaningful experiences.
SARA RUNYAN, B.S.
Sara was raised in the woods and prairies of southern Iowa. Her grandpa was a game warden, her dad built willow furniture and her mom homeschooled her and her brother until elementary school. As a kid Sara spent more time outside than inside learning plant and animal species as they walked their land, reciting presidents as they were hunting morel mushrooms and being quizzed on multiplication while fishing for crappie. Her dad and grandpa taught her all of the ethics behind being an outdoors-person but she had no interest in pursuing a degree in law enforcement (as a game warden.) She decided she would teach. Sara taught for a little over two years when she realized she did not do well inside four walls for eight hours a day. That's when she found out that she could teach and be outside! Sara immediately went back to school at Iowa State University where she obtained a bachelor's degree in Interpretation of Natural Resources. Since then life has brought her to Colorado and she feels so lucky that it did! She loves working at Cal-Wood because she gets to teach in a way that is so comfortable to her. The kids get to learn all kinds of Colorado State Standards while also being immersed in the great outdoors and Sara cannot think of anything more meaningful to do with her life.
MICHELLE VILLAGRAN, B.S.
Michelle Villagran (Meesh) was born in Southern California and spent her childhood summers exploring the various ecosystems the state had to offer. She started hiking and camping at an early age, which led to her passion for outdoor activities and the environment. She went to the University of Redlands and studied Environmental Science. After graduating, she worked at various environmental and after-school programs. She began working at Cal-Wood and was amazed by the expansive property, caring co-workers, and the important goal Cal-Wood was trying to achieve, which was getting as many students outside and learning as possible. These are the main reasons why she is still here, and continues to be an instructor. When Meesh isn't instructing outside with students, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, reading, and snowshoeing.
BEN WEBB, PHD
Ben was born in Virginia and grew up catching crayfish and exploring the peaks and hollers of the Appalachian mountains. He went to Virginia Tech and attained a degree in Biology and a PhD in Microbiology. During his studies, he picked up the hobby of Tracking animals, which led him to develop a deeper awareness of his natural surroundings. Inspired by Tom Brown, Jr. (author of The Tracker) he found his own secret spot in the woods, where he further developed a deeper love and appreciation for the natural world. When sitting quietly in his secret spot, deer would often walk by, and birds he’d never seen before would often pay him a visit. There, he could eat fresh berries, pluck apples, and gather walnuts. Every time he left the spot, he would say “thank you.” One day, he found that all the trees and plants in his secret spot had been cut down and a foundation for a house had been installed. Although he was very upset, he decided to channel that energy into teaching others about the gifts of nature, so that they may understand the importance of the natural world for themselves and others. Cal-Wood is a great place for him to accomplish this mission.