Colorado Staff

Steve Johnson, EcoFS Director & Professor (Course 2)

Steve earned his Masters of Science degree from the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana at Missoula (UM) in 1995 & is currently an Affiliate Professor at UM.  Steve has devoted his entire career to studying and teaching Rocky Mountain and Caribbean ecosystem science and has 20+ years of experience in the field of ecosystem education. Steve founded the Ecosystem Field Studies (EcoFS) Program in 2006 in Colorado with a mission to provide unparalleled ecosystem learning opportunities for undergraduate college students. Steve has now safely and successfully taught over 20 EcoFS courses to over 400 students.

Before creating EcoFS, Steve was Program Director at Cal-Wood Education Center, a private non-profit outside of Boulder, Colorado & the lcurrent ocation for the Colorado EcoFS course. At Cal-Wood Steve established environmental education programs to K-12 school groups & collaborated with teachers to design field science programs. Other ecosystem education experience includes serving as a Naturalist for the National Park Service, Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator for the Student Conservation Association, and Field Instructor for Yosemite National Institutes in California. Steve holds an Advanced Open water SCUBA certification with over 250 Caribbean dives & has lived in Boulder, Colorado since 1997.

Rebecca Harris, Professor (Course 1)

Rebecca earned her Master’s degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2013. Her thesis studied the effects of Lodgepole pine death due to Mountain Pine Beetle on understory plant communities. While at CU she served as TA for General Biology and Introduction to Ecology. She was also a National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow for two years, which allowed her to improve her skills as a science communicator and educator & to bring her own research experience into K-12 classrooms. In addition to her Master's research, Rebecca has ten years of experience working on ecosystem based research projects as a botanist, crew leader, project manager, technician, volunteer, & student. Her research has given her the opportunity to work on plant communities & invasive plants in California grasslands & Colorado subalpine forests, bird diversity in Costa Rica, & nesting sea-turtle populations in Hawaii.

Currently, Rebecca is a secondary science teacher Boulder, Utah. She also has a Wilderness Emergency Technician (WEMT) certification, & serves as an EMT on Boulder's ambulance. In her free time, she enjoys learning new skills, discussing scientific literacy, and spending as much time as possible exploring the expansive wilderness of Southeastern Utah.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007. Rebecca was a Professor for the Colorado EcoFS class in 2015 & 2016 & Teaching Assistant in 2014. She is passionate about ecosystem-based education & excited to bring her expertise to EcoFS. 

Garrett Rue, Teaching Assistant

Garrett Rue is a PhD student in the Hydrologic Sciences and Environmental Studies Program at the University of Colorado-Boulder and is affiliated with the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). ​T​he focus of his research ​is the impacts of disturbance on water quality and the surrounding environment. These include the worsening effects of mine drainage, the influence of the 2013 ​Colorado ​Front Range flood on watershed biogeochemistry, and most recently the consequences of wildfire to the sensitive, headwater catchments of Boulder Creek. Related to these studies, he specializes in exploring the linkages between the aquatic and the terrestrial environment both across Colorado and as far off as Antarctica.         

​Garrett has taught across the continuum of the classroom, lab, and field courses at C​U Boulder. including seven Teaching Assistant positions. He possesses a deep background in both the methodological and analytical aspects of environmental sampling. Synthesizing these roles as a scientist, educator, and mentor, and along with a passion for all things outdoors, his award-winning work lies at the nexus of research on water, ecosystem function, and strategies for management. He continues to collaborate on a host of ongoing projects to monitor, understand, and advocate for the conservation of natural resources on which we all depend. Garrett is also an avid adventurer, taking every opportunity to get “out there” to explore whatever the season offers wherever he may be.

Ben Hendrickson, Course Assistant

Ben is a recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Biological Sciences focusing on Ecology and a minor in Anthropology. At Mizzou, he conducted a study with the Missouri Department of Conservation examining the genetic diversity and population structure of Shortleaf pine in the Missouri Ozark Mountains to inform management decisions regarding replanting efforts.  Ben was a student on the 2014 Colorado EFS course where he studied barn swallow behavior and nest site selection.

Ben is passionate about wildlife conservation and science education, and is pursuing a career in wildlife research.  As a Behavioral Research Intern at the St. Louis Zoo’s Endangered Species Research Center, he conducted live studies of numerous at-risk and endangered species including African painted dogs, Grevy’s Zebra, chimpanzees, and polar bears.  After graduating, he worked as an Avian Research Assistant with the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project, a century-long study of forest management on the Ozark ecosystem. Ben also served as a Peer Advisor for MU’s Department of Biological Sciences for three years where he focused on improving resources available to students interested in ecology and conservation.   In his free time, he can be found cooking, hiking, camping, listening to the birds, and lazily strumming his guitar.

Maggie Treece, Course Assistant

Maggie graduated from the University of Arizona in 2015 with a degree in Geoscience. She was a Colorado EcoFS student in the summer of 2015, and completed the Extended Credit option as a Conservation Intern.  The internship included forestry and bird nest surveying, helping supervise youth during conservation projects, and completing land management projects throughout Cal-Wood. With a fellow intern, she also produced a visual flower key for children to use during Cal-Wood camp activities.

During her free time and in her professional life, Maggie enjoys playing outside and travelling. She has been working for the National Ecological Observatory Network since January in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Fresno. She collects ecological field data, contributing to nationwide data sets that will be used to monitor the effects of land use and climate change over time. Before this, she worked as a Forestry Technician at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. There she collected data for forestry management plans that maintain habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and other wildlife. She is very excited to return to the Colorado EcoFS course.

Keelan Gneuhs, Course Assistant

Keelan is going into her senior year at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is majoring in Biological Sciences with a focus in Environmental and Conservation Biology and a minor in Psychology. She was a student on the Colorado EcoFS course in the summer of 2016 and did her research project on Soil Preference of Quaking Aspen. Keelan also participated in the course’s Extended Credit Conservation Internship option and worked directly with Cal-Wood’s Natural Resource Manager, Angie Busby. Keelan mapped invasive cheatgrass on GIS, built fencing to prevent elk from decimating tree populations, and collected data for Cal-Wood’s Forestry Management Plan. While in Colorado, she also served with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers to restore native plant life in flooded areas and to count seeds.

Keelan is passionate about protecting the environment and the wildlife that inhabit it. She plans to apply to law school next year and pursue a career in International Environmental Law and Policy. Currently at Mizzou, Keelan is Vice President of Socials for Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honors Society, an organization that educates students on the different careers and aspects of Biology. She also is a member of Jumpstart which helps preschool children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds prepare for kindergarten. In the classroom, Keelan can often be found at the science station introducing children to the wonders of science education. In her free time, Keelan enjoys hiking, writing poetry, and listening to music.