Simpson University Students Clean River for Ecotheology Class

For Immediate Release


Shasta River Cleanup

REDDING, Calif. - Simpson University students organized a recent cleanup along the Shasta River as part of a class on ecotheology, faith, and practice.

The four students traveled north of Yreka off Highway 263 on Oct. 30 and worked with a U.S. Forest Service ranger from Happy Camp, who had provided several options for the cleanup, including possibly rafting to places where car axles had been dumped in the river.

However, “the day we decided to go out had a pretty grim weather forecast, with the high in the mid-50s and rain and wind likely,” said Outdoor Leadership major Nick Salgado, who served as a summer river guide for Mount Hermon Kidder Creek Camp in Etna. “That really is dry-suit weather, so we decided it would be best to do something that didn’t involve getting soaked.”

Shasta River CleanupThe students instead traversed up and down a 100-yard stretch of shore and picked up several hundred pounds of trash that had been tossed from a bridge.

“The most heartbreaking thing was seeing car batteries that had been discarded,” Salgado said. “They were crushed open from the fall off the bridge, and I just knew all of the lead acid had leached into the river.”

The cleanup met a requirement for an assignment in a Simpson CORE class called “Jesus and Aldo Leopold: Ecotheology, faith, and practice.” The class is team-taught by Amy Smallwood, associate professor of outdoor leadership, and Dr. Michael Lyons, associate professor of Old Testament.

Simpson’s signature CORE classes, required of all students, are designed to teach students to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue as they confront issues facing the current generation.

“In our class we are learning what it means to be stewards of this wonderful earth that we have been given charge of,” Salgado said. “I can see myself caring more and more about the earth, and this experience was just a slice of it.”

Along with Salgado, the other students who participated in the cleanup were Moriah Stock (outdoor leadership), Caleb Heatherly (outdoor leadership and cross-cultural studies), and Kayla Holland (biology).

Photos courtesy Nick Salgado

Standing, from left, Moriah Stock, Cassidy Moran (Southern Oregon University student), and Caleb Heatherly; and (seated) Nick Salgado and Kayla Holland with trash gathered after a day of cleanup along the Shasta River.

From left, Caleb Heatherly, Cassidy Moran (Southern Oregon University), and Nick Salgado pick up debris along the shores of the Shasta River.


Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737