Spring Rivers Foundation Helps Educate Youth to Promote Healthy Ecosystems
● By Emily Miranda
By Emily Miranda
IN THE HEART of Northern California’s Intermountain area is the community of Cassel, sandwiched between Burney and Fall River Mills. Here lies the headquarters of the Spring Rivers Foundation, a foundation passionate about the region’s nature and wildlife.
Spring Rivers Foundation strives to ameliorate stewardship within the Intermountain area, focusing mainly on native aquatic wildlife species. They also encourage participation between locals and their natural environment by offering outdoor education and sparking local interest in environmental projects.
To accomplish these objectives, the nonprofit foundation takes advantage of its founders’ extensive wildlife knowledge and experience. Co-founders Maria Ellis and Jeff Cook are professional ecologists with more than 30 years of combined experience.
Ellis earned a doctorate in aquatic ecology and her master’s degree in marine science. She came to the Intermountain Area in 1990, fascinated with the ecology of aquatic species. Cook holds a bachelor’s degree in conservation and resource studies. He moved to the North State in 1995 to work with Ellis in what has now evolved into the Spring Rivers Ecological Sciences.
Their shared interest in Northeastern California and its native species sparked the concept for the Spring Rivers Foundation. They believed forming a nonprofit entity would better equip them to work with the state and federal regulatory agencies responsible for protecting species. It has also opened the door for them to arbitrate between these agencies and private landowners to improve the efficiency and quality of research, design and implementation of habitat restoration projects.
Not only does the foundation conserve and enhance native species’ habitats, but it’s
also committed to provide opportunities for hands-on education and learning pertaining to nature and wildlife.
With experts in the field, Spring Rivers Foundation has been able to gather a team of qualified, motivated education professionals and administrators who are dedicated to providing enhanced learning opportunities that not only benefit the local environment, but also stimulate youth involvement with real-life projects. •
Spring Rivers Foundation • springrivers.org