Camp CBG Instructors

Instructor schedule will be posted in spring 2015.

Amy Wells

Amy Kerr Wells
Manager, Camp Programs

This will be my seventh summer with Camp CBG. I have been managing summer day camp programs for 15 years. Before that I was a classroom teacher. 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 children who love playing outdoors regardless of the weather.

Hayley Anderson

Hayley Anderson
Lekotek Camp Instructor

I have been working with Lekotek families for the past three years and loving every minute of it! I am a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and manager of family services and partnerships at the National Lekotek Center. I have developed customized programs with partner organizations in Chicago’s North Shore communities. My passion for making play accessible for all kids stems from my own home life. I have siblings with disabilities and understand the unique dynamic of a family with special needs.

Toni Barnes

Toni Barnes

Hello! This is my seventh year teaching summer camp at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and how I love it! I previously taught preK 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 spending time with my daughter, shopping or doing anything active, traveling with my husband, and cooking. I look forward to another fabulous summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden!

Nancy Blitz

Nancy Blitz
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my second summer teaching at Camp CBG. Last year I was the camp assistant and two-week camp instructor. I have been a camp director or camp teacher for four years, some of which was in Michigan, where I am from. I attended Michigan State University for undergraduate work, as well as National Louis University for graduate coursework. I am certified to teach kindergarten through sixth grade; 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. In my spare time, I enjoy playing with my kids (ages 6 and 2) and spending time with my husband, our family, and friends. I also enjoy going to the movies, cooking, and entertaining. I am so looking forward to meeting your camper this year. Camp CBG is a magical place and I am thrilled to be a part of the magic for your children.

Liz Dentzer

Liz Dentzer
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my ninth year teaching at 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 and teaching in my own classroom for ten years. During the school year I teach art to more than 500 hundred students in kindergarten through fifth grade with a wide range of ages, abilities, and backgrounds. I received a B.A. in graphic design and photography with a minor in art history from the University of San Diego and an M.A.T. (Master's in the Art of Teaching) in interdisciplinary arts education from Columbia College Chicago.

Stefanie Gehrig

Stefanie Gehrig
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my second year teaching at Camp CBG. I am a licensed teacher with an M.A. in elementary education from National-Louis-Chicago. During the school year, I teach art at a charter school and literacy in a Chicago Public School. I also have an M.A. in photography from Columbia College-Chicago and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked as a graphic artist and art director for more than 16 years. I have exhibited my photography in several galleries. In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking and hiking and relaxing with my husband and two daughters.

Anne Healy

Anne W. Healy
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my thirteenth year as a Camp CBG Instructor. I was a second grade teacher at South School in Glencoe, Illinois (District #35), for nineteen years and am now retired. Other schools where I have taught include Greeley School in Winnetka, The Latin School of Chicago, and Edgewood School in Park Forest, Illinois. I taught super science seekers at Northwestern University's Saturday Enrichment Program (SEP) for five years. It is such fun to teach science, and the environment and its preservation. I am a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. and have a master's degree from National Louis University with an endorsement in reading. Four years ago I traveled to China to view the enormous flocks of migratory birds that inhabit the wetlands of several provinces during the winter months. In November of 2013, I traveled to remote Bhutan and northwestern India, viewing the habitats and flocks of the black-necked, demoiselle and sarus cranes. The Chicago Botanic Garden is a splendid place with its own special habitats and wildlife. I love coming to this beautiful Garden each day. It is great to meet the campers from many schools and communities. There is so much to do and to see at the Garden, with an opportunity to explore, to learn about nature, and to share many interests. 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.

Rhodi Hotaling

Rhodi Hotaling
Camp CBG Instructor

Hello! My name is 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 tenth 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
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my fourth summer working at Camp CBG. I moved to Lake Forest from eastern Massachusetts in 2010. I earned a B.A. in English from Mount Holyoke College and my M.A. in nineteenth century literature and culture from the University of York in England. During the school year, I teach tenth and twelfth grade English at Lake Forest Academy, where I am also a dorm parent, volleyball coach, and astronomy club advisor. In my free time, I like to read, draw, and go for walks with my dog Lyra. I also have three pet rats and am very interested in wildlife. I am really excited about teaching at Camp CBG since it is a chance to work with high-energy kids in a great outdoor setting. I believe that a connection to nature and botanic cultivation are excellent skills to foster in young children, especially in the summer when they are capable of observing the fragrant blooms and expansive gardens of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Mila Love

Mila Love
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my fifth summer with Camp CBG. I have been an instructor at the Garden for seven 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 B.A. from DePauw University.

.Dianne L. Kittle

Dianne L. Kittle
Camp CBG Instructor

Since September 2012, I have been teaching fine art photography at the Chicago Botanic Garden. For several years, I taught science for grades 6–12 in California and Colorado. While residing in Australia and Thailand, I had the opportunity to study and teach my passion, photography. My favorite days at the International School of Bangkok were those spent in the elementary school classroom and in middle school, teaching to the imaginations of children. In addition to an M.A. in environmental biology, I have completed extensive course work in photography and digital media design.  

Carolyn Mohr

Carolyn Mohr
Camp CBG Instructor

This is my second year with Camp CBG, which is the highlight of my summer. The best classroom is an outdoor classroom, and we will have 385 acres, nine islands, and six miles of shoreline to explore! I taught science and math for more than 28 years in grades 6–12, and now I am a science methods instructor at Dominican University as well as a field-trip instructor at the Garden. In my spare time, I am a National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) online advisor and web seminar moderator. The Illinois State Board of Education named me a teacher of the year finalist and presented me with a 2008 “Those Who Excel” award of excellence.  I received an Ed.S. from Northern Illinois University, a C.A.S. and M.Ed. from National Louis University, and a B.S. in science and math from Central Michigan University. In April, I presented at the Boston NSTA national conference and, in January, at the ASTE (Association of Science Teacher Educators) international conference in San Antonio. I can’t wait to go hiking and investigating with my Science Explorers at Camp CBG! Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen, and excitement. Camp CBG will provide the rest.

Jim O'Malley

Jim O'Malley

It is hard to believe, but this will be my 14th year 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 at Morton Grove (Skokie 69). I am 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.

Callie Pogge

Callie Pogge
Camp CBG Instructor

I could not be more enthusiastic to teach for the first time this summer at Camp CBG! During the school year, I teach biology and physical science at Lyons Township High School. I have experience teaching middle school science and have worked with younger children as well. I love to explore science and nature, remain active, and learn each day. I am looking forward to meeting your child during our adventures! My B.S. is in science education from the University of Notre Dame, and my master's degree in curriculum and instruction is from Concordia University.

Nikki Radcliffe

Nikki Radcliffe
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my third summer as a Camp CBG instructor. For the past six years, I’ve been working in and around schools in various capacities, including subbing, working as a teacher’s aide, and teaching. I am currently working in inner city Milwaukee teaching fourth grade. Prior to working at the Garden, I spent seven summers working at a Girl Scout camp in Wisconsin as a counselor and camp director. Traveling is a passion of mine and I have experienced so many wonderful places and cultures! I have lived and worked all over the country and was lucky enough to study in Europe for a semester during college. I received my B.S. in Education from Carroll University in Waukesha, WI, and am licensed to teach grades K–9.

Mike Rogan

Mike Rogan

This is my second 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 B.S. 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.

Stephanie Sears

Stephanie Sears
Lekotek Camp Instructor

I first discovered my 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, I worked with children and adults with disabilities at a year-round camp called Camp Courageous of Iowa where I discovered the value and empowerment of outdoor activities and nature. After volunteering for a year in a special education classroom in Guatemala and facilitating after-school programs, I started at the National Lekotek Center as the bilingual family play specialist. I am excited to combine my many passions of play, diversity, the outdoors, and the special needs community.

Teresa Weed

Teresa Weed
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my first summer at Camp CBG. In September 2014, I will open one of the first Forest Schools in the United States at North Park Village Nature Center in Chicago. I taught in the Waldorf School kindergarten for eight years, and I was very proud to earn an M.A. in zoology from Miami University last year.

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 Schaumburg. I have a B.A. in elementary education with a concentration in social sciences from North Park University.

Carolyn Wiggins

Carolyn Wiggins
Camp CBG Instructor

This will be my ninth summer teaching at 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 B.S. in music education from Muskingum College, a M.S. in reading education, and a certificate of advanced study for principals from National-Louis University. I am also an active master gardener with the University of Illinois and teach for the school programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden. As a 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
Camp CBG Instructor

This is my third summer as a Camp CBG instructor and I am thrilled to be here. I currently teach third grade at Aspen Elementary in Vernon Hills during the school year. I love being active and exploring nature. I received a B.A. in education along with a minor in biology from Eastern Illinois University. I am currently working toward a master's degree in science process and content.

Karen banks-Lubicz

Karen Banks-Lubicz
Ravinia teaching artist

Karen Banks-Lubicz is a lifelong 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!). 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.

Rich Stitzel
Ravinia teaching artist

Drummer Rich Stitzel has called Chicago home for nearly eight years, where he is firmly established in the music performance and 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.