Board President

John Miles

John Miles, PhD, taught for more than four decades at Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University. He created the environmental education program there, emphasizing outdoor and experiential learning for both undergraduate and graduate students. He also served terms as department chair and dean of the College. John has written three books and edited/co-edited three others, and continues to write about environmental education and national park history.

I was able, in my academic career,” John says, “to take students out of the classroom and learn with them about the natural world, public lands, and the inestimable value of wilderness. Rivers & Birds shows the way to effective environmental education and advocacy in this wonderful part of the world.”


Vice President

Lydia Ruffin

Lydia is a professional musician and singer who has a degree in Music Education. She worked for Young Audiences, Inc. for over 30 years, bringing educational performances and workshops to students across Missouri and Kansas. She was founding Artistic Director for Art & Soul Café in St. Louis, Missouri, a nonprofit focused on integrating art and spirituality through interactive experiences among artists of all disciplines. Lydia is an enthusiastic birdwatcher, photographer, and lover of the natural world. 

I see building community and working toward the common good as essential to our future, and so I am grateful to be part of Rivers & Birds' mission."

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Doug Bridgers

Raised in New Mexico, he graduated from UNM with a B.A. in Spanish and has a strong interest in New Mexico’s local cultural traditions. A former elementary school teacher, Doug brings his teaching experience and concerns for public education to Rivers & Birds.

My own spiritual grounding is in the natural world. Too many children lack direct contact with their community and the natural world on which they depend. Rivers & Birds is providing that important environmental connection for students.” Doug owns Maya Builders, a business that focuses on building energy efficient, environmentally sound homes.



Susan Morgan

Susan Morgan, PhD, studied Southwest archaeology and holds degrees in English and environmental studies, with emphasis on wildlands conservation. Susan has taught high school English and environmental studies at the community college level. In 1968 she began as Director of Education for the Wilderness Society where she worked for over ten years, and she has subsequently worked in education and outreach positions with wilderness, wildlands, and public lands conservation groups up to the present. She is currently a copy editor and is president of The Rewilding Institute.

I believe in Rivers & Birds because it seeks to build bridges of awareness between those of us who live in the neighborhood and the natural world of our community. It seeks to conserve and restore through education by giving young people, as well as adults, the opportunity to experience our natural world where natural history, culture, science, and the humanities come together.”


Susie Bogard

Susie’s education includes a BA in Art Education and an MFA from University of Colorado, Boulder. Her career as a high school art teacher spanned nearly 30 years. Integrating art into many disciplines and learning experiences, she created and led trips to Manitoba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness in the 150 trips she co-led at Jefferson County Open School.

As a former high school educator at a school where outdoor education is an integral part of the curriculum, I believe that when kids learn that the world is their classroom, they will strive to protect the environment for their entire lives.” 


Chris Pieper

Chris received his B.S. from the University California at Berkeley in conservation education. He taught science and environmental education at Sacred Heart Schools in Palo Alto California. In 1998, Chris to continued his education work teaching at Taos High School before eventually starting an outdoor gear and clothing store in Taos called Mudd N Flood.  Chris enjoys gardening, hiking and skiing with his family.

I support the mission of Rivers and Birds because it serves a critical need in our community – educating our children to appreciate the natural world through direct experience of Nature."


Jeff Bogard

Jeff began his 33 year career as a teacher of high school science, specializing in experiential and outdoor education. With his high school students, he has tracked grizzlies in Yellowstone, explored the ruins of Tikal, constructed snow caves, and planted fruit trees for the Navajo, taking kids out of their comfort zones into peak learning in nature.

As a teacher, I have been helping people connect with each other and the natural world for 47 years. I believe that Rivers & Birds is a very effective way to insure that young people will become dedicated to caring for each other and the natural world that nurtures us all.”


Bob Felt

Bob is the co-founder of Redwing Book Company, an international distributor of books on complementary medicine and Paradigm Publications, a leading publisher of textbooks on acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Since 1981, Bob has worked with education oriented non-profit organizations ranging from Montessori schools to Acupuncture Colleges.

"Rivers and Birds provides not only ecology education for school children who might not otherwise receive it, but also wonderful leadership opportunities for local youth.”


Rhonda Vanderhoff

Rhonda received her MA in counseling from Montclair State University. Her work in the counseling field spanned 33 years.  Rhonda's love of the outdoors began when she was a young child and loved spending time with her Dad walking in the woods of northern New Jersey.

I have spent most of my adult life hiking and backpacking with my husband.  Our appreciation of the outdoors and our spirituality has been shared on the many trails and mountains we have climbed. I am so grateful to be a part of Rivers & Birds.  Everyone involved in this organization is passionate about nature and our community.  I look forward to being a part of the educational programs and conservation efforts that will impact children and adults.”

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Douglas Daubert

Doug received his MA in Counseling from Montclair State University in NJ. He worked in education as a Student Assistance Counselor and Coach for nearly 30 years. He has enjoyed coaching girl's field hockey and basketball, boy's volleyball, soccer and track.  He loves to cook and garden.  Doug has hiked thousands of miles and has grown to love and respect all that nature has to give.

"Being a part of Rivers and Birds is an incredible opportunity to give back and pass on his love of nature. It isn’t often that you get the opportunity to combine what you have trained for and what you live for!"