Camp CBG Instructors

Instructor Schedule will be posted in Spring 2014

Amy Wells

Amy Kerr Wells
Manager, Camp Programs

This will be my sixth summer with Camp CBG.  I have been managing summer day camp programs for over ten years. Before that I was a classroom teacher for years.  I have a B.A. in zoology and an M.S. in elementary education, and I completed a Sea Grant internship at a small aquarium.  I am now a mother of two little ones who love playing outdoors regardless of the weather.

Dina Baker

Dina Baker

This will be my second summer as a camp instructor for Camp CBG.  For the past eight years I have taught educational classes and programs at various facilities in the subjects of drawing, ceramics, history, and nature to children ages three and up.  I received my BFA in Studio Art, minor in Art History, and BA in Spanish Literature from Northern Illinois University in 2009.

Toni Barnes

Toni Barnes

Hello! This is my sixth year teaching summer camp at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and how I love it!  During the school year I teach Pre-K at a private school in Naperville.  I went to Carroll University where I obtained my degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Social Studies.  During my free time I enjoy shopping, anything active, traveling with my husband and cooking.  I look forward to another fabulous summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden!

Liz Dentzer

Liz Dentzer

This will be my eighth year teaching with Camp CBG. Prior to beginning my teaching career I worked as a professional artist and graphic designer. My experiences there led me to where I am today, a dedicated artist with a passion for teaching. I’ve been working in schools for over 10 years and teaching in my own classroom for 9. During the school year I teach art to over 500 hundred students in Kindergarten through fifth grade with a wide range of ages, abilities and backgrounds. I received a BA in graphic design and photography with a minor in art history from the University of San Diego and an MAT (Masters in the Art of Teaching) in Interdisciplinary Arts Education from Columbia College Chicago.

Alexis Ellers

Alexis Ellers

This will be my first camp with the Chicago Botanical Garden. I have co-taught the Early Exposures Workshop for three years. I was an Assistant Teaching Artist at Marwen for two years and have been a Teaching Artist there for two years. While attending Columbia College Chicago I was a darkroom Teaching Assistant until I gradated in December 2008 with a Bachelors of Arts in Photography.

Stefanie Gehrig

Stefanie Gehrig

This will be my first summer working with Camp CBG. I am a licensed teacher with an MA in Elementary Education from National-Louis-Chicago. I have an MA in Photography from Columbia College-Chicago and a BA in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am a working graphic artist and art director and have exhibited my photography in several galleries. I have done graphic design professionally for more than 16 years. In my spare time, I like kayaking and hiking.

Anne Healy

Anne W. Healy

I have been a second grade teacher at South School in Glencoe, Illinois for nineteen years and am now retired. This summer will mark my twelfth year teaching summer camp at the Garden. I received my undergraduate at the University of Michigan and have a Master’s degree from National Louis University. I also received an endorsement in reading. Welcome to Camp CBG! I look forward to meeting all of you and to enjoying the fun and wonder involved in the summer program at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Susan Hedrick

Susan Hedrick

I have taught preschool for 30 years. I received a BA in Early Childhood Education and Human Development from National-Louis University. I taught for five years at Willow Wood Preschool in Winnetka before coming to Glenview Community Church Nursery School, where I have been teaching for the past 22 years. This is my seventh year teaching at Camp CBG. I have really enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to meeting you and your children and having a great summer!

Rhodi Hotaling

Rhodi Hotaling

I am currently a middle school math teacher at North Park Elementary School in Chicago. I have been working with children in one way or another for many years and it is truly my passion. I earned my Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from National-Louis University. This is my ninth summer teaching at camp CBG and I am incredibly excited to be doing so again. I believe I am a fun and creative person and that this will show in the relationships that are built with my campers and from the creative activities that I have planned. I’m looking forward to a great summer at Camp CBG and the opportunity to work with all of the campers.

Lauren Kelly

Lauren Kelly

This will be my third year teaching at Camp CBG.  I earned my BA in English from Mount Holyoke College and my MA in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture from the University of York.  I have taught at a private boarding school in Easthampton, MA and a public charter school on Cape Cod.  Currently I teach ninth and tenth grade English at Lake Forest Academy, where I am also a dorm parent, volleyball coach, and Astronomy Club advisor.  I’m really excited about teaching at Camp CBG again since it is a chance to work with high-energy kids in a great outdoor setting.

Mila Love

Mila Love

This will be my fourth summer with Camp CBG. I have been an instructor at the Garden for six years and enjoy seeing many of our campers and families throughout the year. Prior to joining the Garden, I managed the Hamill Family Play Zoo at Brookfield Zoo and taught a variety of nature based programs. I have two children who are growing up quickly so working with our youngest campers makes me very happy! I received a BA from DePauw University.

Carolyn Mohr

Carolyn Mohr

This is my first summer with Camp CBG. I taught science and math for over 25 years in grades 6-12 and am presently a science methods instructor in the elementary education program (K-8) for Southern Illinois University/Carbondale. I also spend time online at the National Science Teachers Association website helping out as an Online Advisor. I received an EdS degree from Northern Illinois University, a CAS and MA from National Louis University in Adult Leadership & Supervision and Curriculum & Instruction, and a BS in science and mathematics from Central Michigan University. Besides having a passion for teaching and learning science, I can’t wait to go hiking in Colorado!

Jim O'Malley

Jim O'Malley

It is hard to believe but this will be my 13 year anniversary of teaching at Camp CBG! Like they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun!” I have had a tremendous amount of fun teaching about science and nature. What better location to accomplish this? Currently, I teach fourth grade teacher at Morton Grove (Skokie 69). I am a National Board Certified, I have been a two time state finalist for the Presidential Math and Science Award and I am presently a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at National-Louis University. My children, Sara and Colin will be attending camp this year as they do each summer. It is something all of us look forward to each year.

Nikki Radcliffe

Nikki Radcliffe

This will be my second summer as a Camp CBG Instructor. For the past five years I’ve been working in and around schools in various capacities, including both subbing and working as a Teacher’s Aide, most recently in the Lake Forest School District. Prior to working at the Garden, I spent seven summers working at a Girl Scout Camp in Wisconsin as a Counselor and Camp Director. In addition, I also really enjoy coaching softball and have coached for the past four years. I received my BS in Education from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI and am licensed to teach grades K-9.

Mike Rogan

Mike Rogan

This is my first summer with Camp CBG. I currently teach physics and chemistry to freshman and sophomores at Lake Forest Academy. I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Physics and a Minor in Secondary Education. At the U of I, I was closely involved with the physics department’s outreach program “The Physics Van.” We were a traveling science show that promoted interest in science and engineering to elementary students in central Illinois and across the country.

Kathryn Rose

Kathryn Rose

This will be my fifth summer working at the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden. During my five years with the Garden I have worked with summer camps, weekend and family programs, and school field trips. Prior to joining the garden, I was a middle school history teacher at a private elementary school in Chicago. I also have four years of daycare and preschool related experience working with KinderCare in Schamburg. I have my BA in Elementary Education with a concentration in Social Sciences from North Park University.

Carolyn Wiggins

Carolyn Wiggins

This will be my eighth summer teaching with Camp CBG. I am a retired elementary school teacher from the Chicago suburbs who has taught students from kindergarten through graduate school. I have a BS in Music Education from Muskingum College, a MS in Reading Education and a CAS for principals from National-Louis University. I am also an active Master Gardener with the University of Illinois and teach school field trip programs at the Garden. As the grandmother of six, I love both cooking and exploring nature with them. I am looking forward to a fantastic week with your camper.

Becky Zurek

Becky Zurek

This is my second summer as a Camp CBG instructor, and I am thrilled to be here. I currently teach 3rd grade at Aspen Elementary in Vernon Hills during the school year. I love being active and exploring nature. I received my BA in Education along with a minor in biology from Eastern Illinois University.

Karen banks-Lubicz

Karen Banks-Lubicz

Karen Banks-Lubicz is a life-long lover of music. Born into folk music, her dad regularly played the guitar and sang songs he learned at the Old Town School of Folk Music (Now celebrating their 50th year! Yeah!!!). Since 1998, Karen has been teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music, bringing music to families through the Wiggleworms program. She has written and recorded songs for children and adults, worked with Urban Gateways as an improv musician for Playback Theater Midwest, sang the blues with the Undertakers, played folk rock with the Caulfields, kinda-country background with Urban Twang, pop-rock with The Davenports, and taught first grade in the Chicago Public Schools. Karen performs at parties, preschools, libraries, churches, festivals and has worked as a Ravinia Teaching Artist since 2007.

Gina Zinbarg

Gina Zinbarg

This will be my second summer as a Camp CBG instructor. Prior to joining the Garden in 2012, I’ve been substituting for the Deerfield Montessori Schools where I taught from 2008-2001. Prior to Montessori, I taught special education K-10 for 13 years. I received a BA in Psychology from Skidmore College and an MA in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University.

Nancy Blitz

Nancy Blitz
Camp CBG Assistant & Instructor

This will be my first summer working with Camp CBG. I attended Michigan State University for undergraduate work, as well as National Louis University for graduate coursework. I am certified to teach Kindergarten, middle school Science, English and Language Arts, and K-8 English as a Second Language. I previously taught eighth grade Science in Michigan. My husband and my young family moved to the Chicago area in 2009. I love spending time with my kids, teaching, and being with my parents and our friends and extended family. I am so looking forward to meeting your children and teaching at Camp CBG this year. The Chicago Botanic Garden Camp is a magical place and I am thrilled to be a part of the magic for your children.

Stephanie Sears

Stephanie Sears
Lekotek Camp Instructor

Stephanie first discovered her love for the special needs population and recreation through working with the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2009.  After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Stephanie worked with children and adults with disabilities at a year round camp called Camp Courageous of Iowa where she discovered the value and empowerment of outdoor activities and nature.  After volunteering for a year in a Special Education classroom in Guatemala and facilitating afterschool programs, Stephanie started at the National Lekotek Center as the Bilingual Family Play Specialist. She is excited to combine her many passions of play, diversity, the outdoors, and the special needs community.

Hayley Anderson

Hayley Anderson
Lekotek Camp Instructor

Hayley has been working with Lekotek families for the past 3 years and loving every minute of it! She is a certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Manager of Family Services & Partnerships at the National Lekotek Center. Hayley has also been instrumental in developing customized programs with partner organizations in Chicago’s northshore communities.  Her passion for making play accessible for all kids stems from her home life. Hayley has siblings with disabilities and understands the unique dynamic of a family with special needs.

Rich Stitzel
Ravinia teaching artist

Drummer Rich Stitzel has called Chicago home for nearly 8 years, where he has firmly established himself in the music performance & education scene. Rich has toured the United States, Europe, Turkey, and Africa. He is currently the drummer on many recording sessions and has played live with platinum selling artist Miranda Lambert, Grammy nominated artist Cathy Richardson, Jazz legend Cornelius Bumpus, Soul legend Mary Wilson & the Supremes, and many others. Rich is a third generation musician and music educator and loves both sides of the art. He has been a teaching artist for Ravinia since 2006.

Matt Lewis
Ravinia teaching artist

Bandleader, vocalist, and trumpeter, Matt Lewis has been performing professionally for more than 18 years, reaching audiences at home and abroad. He has toured extensively throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe as a Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador and with the Lt. Dan Band, led by Gary Sinise. In addition to performing, Matt is committed to sharing his love of music with children through his teaching of Folk Music and as a Teaching Artist for the Ravinia Festival Music Discovery Program since 2000.

MELANIE UPFOLD
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my first year teaching summer camp at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I am originally from Australia, where I received my BA of Education (Early Childhood) at the University of Newcastle. During the school year I teach preschool at the Gorton Drop-In Center in Lake Forest. I am looking forward to having a fun-filled summer with you and your children at the Garden.