Photo of Sly Park's Staff Members of our Sly Park staff with our awesome view of the Sierras from Jenkinson Reservoir Dam.

Meet the Sly Park Teachers



Stephen Turner

Stephen Turner ("The Alien")


Stephen has been a credentialed Sly Park Teacher for 19 years; Teacher In Charge. Stephen was born in the UK, lived in England, Scotland, Nigeria and the Bahamas prior to coming to the US. He has a degree in Hotel and Catering Administration, but changed careers and earned a degree in Fishery Biology from Humboldt State University. Stephen has expertise in fresh water, anadromous and marine biology. He taught children through age fourteen in the public and private sectors both in the UK and in the US for the past 26 years. The first seven years were spent largely teaching math and science, including three years as Head of Science at a boarding school in England.

David Welsh

David Welsh ("Granite")


David was born in Los Angeles. At an early age he was drawn to nature and science. He graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a major in Geography and additional course work in Geology and Environmental Studies. He began teaching at Sly Park in 1991. He has performed educational leadership roles as a PAR teacher and as a BTSA support provider. David also has had training in ropes courses (Project Adventure Advance Skills) and wilderness medicine (WFR). He is an avid rock climber, backpacker and mountain biker.

Ginger Schlavin

Ginger Schlavin ("Wild Ginger")


Ginger has been a Sly Park Teacher for 14 years. While receiving a B.A. in Liberal Studies Ginger was a trip leader for Adventure Outings. She helped lead mountaineering, rock climbing, backpacking, and rafting trips throughout California. In college she spent three years teaching Environmental Science in the classroom. After receiving her teaching credential Ginger taught 6th and 8th grade science for five years at Markham Middle School. She also has had her Wilderness EMT since 1996.

Steffani La Ziere

Steffani La Zier ("Raven")


Steffani has been teaching in the outdoor education field for 30+ years, 15 years at Sly Park. She is a credentialed teacher and her specialties are Native American studies, ethnobotany, storytelling and more. She plays the flute and is training her Therapy Dog “Phoebe” to be a great addition to Sly Park for combatting “homesickness.”

Todd Gillihan

Todd Gillihan ("Grizzly")


Todd is a full-time credentialed teacher with 5+ years of experience at Sly Park. Todd has lived in the Sly Park area for 30+ years. His background in Watershed Science and Natural Resources compliments his teaching style. When not at Sly Park, Todd can be found fly fishing the streams on the West Slope. His favorite ice cream is Pistachio.

Suzanne White

Suzanne White ("Fern")


Suzanne brings years of teaching and outdoor experience to Sly Park. Suzanne is the latest credentialed teacher to add to the Sly Park staff of regular teachers. She has worked for National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Alaska. Her bilingual skills help translate the science and wonder of the forest to a diverse student population.

Gio Giordano

Dave Giordano ("Gio")


Gio Giordano comes to Sly Park with an extensive background as a wildlife biologist, filmmaker and informal science educator. He has participated in research projects on a variety of terrestrial and marine animals throughout the United States and South America. Gio has taught at several outdoor science schools and presented science activities at hundreds of California public schools through the Lawrence Hall of Science Outreach Department. In addition, the BBC, National Geographic, and numerous environmental organizations have used his wildlife photographs and videos.