Meet our Staff

Director/Lead Teacher

Gina Root

I am a lover of all things nature and have been sharing my passion for the natural world with children for more than 20 years. I love to sing, be goofy, and dress up as animals! I am so excited about what we have created here with ROCS!  

I am passionate about giving children time to be in nature and connecting with the forces and rhythms that move us.  My goals are to spend as much time as possible outside with our future generations and to help the ROCS program and nature center grow into a full-fledged learning center and school!

Lead Teacher

Tausha AuBuchon

Hello! I grew up in rural Missouri and I truly enjoy living in the Ozarks. We are surrounded by some of the most beautiful areas nature has to offer and my family and I love exploring it. We go hiking, fossil hunting, horseback riding, camping, and recently picked up kayaking. 

My goal at outdoor school is to fan the flame of curiosity in our kids. I want them to ask questions and push for good, solid, evidence-based answers. I want them to be empowered to say, “I don’t know”, but I have the resources and knowledge to find out. I want to inspire them to be enthusiastic, life-long learners. I’m excited to be on this journey with ROCS and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this program. 


Emily Forstrom

I was born in Montana and that’s where my love for nature and travel started. Some of my favorite things to do with my family are traveling to national parks, camping, hiking, and canoeing. I have been teaching for over 5 years. In this beautiful outdoor setting I am able share my passion for nature while providing the opportunity to empower students with important life skills. As an educator, my aim is to inspire curiosity and encourage students to become active participants in their learning. By immersing children in this outdoor setting, it encourages them to observe, question, and discover the intricacies of the world around them. ROCS creates an environment where students can do just that and I am excited to be a part of their journey.

Administrative Assistant

Lara Burns

My family moved to Rolla back in 2016. I grew up in NE Ohio but discovered my love for wild places while living in New Mexico as an adult. We love to travel and explore the Ozarks and all it has to offer with our 2 daughters by hiking, camping, and we recently bought our first kayak so we can take more river trips! I am excited to be a part of the ROCS community and help children in our area spend more time in the great outdoors!


Terra Nelson Cahill

I am an educator who has intertwined art with nature. With over a decade of experience in teaching art, I have realized my love for educating about nature, and teaching creativity. My journey has led me to a role as a teacher at ROCS- an environment that perfectly aligns with my love for the natural world. I enjoy working with children, and using nature to guide their curiosity.  I have a master's degree in early childhood education with a specialized focus on Montessori principles. In my free time, you'll often find me baking, traveling, exploring, sketching, painting, or photographing the nature all around.