Buy Parking  |  Shop  |  Join

Camp CBG Instructors

Amy Wells

Amy Kerr Wells
Manager, Camp Programs

This will be my eighth 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.

William Adamski

William Adamski
Camp Counselor
I have participated in Camp CBG for many years, first as a camper, then Leader in Training participant, and as a Garden volunteer. This summer I will be a camp counselor. I enjoy the outdoors and exploring the many different areas of the Chicago Botanic Garden. This past winter I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. I am a 2016 graduate of Carmel Catholic High School and will be attending Carroll University this fall.

Hayley Anderson

Hayley Anderson
Camp-n-Play Instructor
I am the manager of Family Services & Partnerships at the National Lekotek Center and am a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). I have developed several customized, inclusive, community programs including at many local libraries and nature centers. Prior to this position, I was a family play specialist for two years at Lekotek and worked directly with children with special needs and their families. I graduated from Indiana University with a background in therapeutic recreation and my prior experience includes interning at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, experience with adaptive physical education programs, and leading adaptive programs sponsored by the YMCA. Growing up with siblings who have disabilities enriched my experience.

Jessica Bai

Jessica Bai
Camp Counselor
This will be my third year as a camp counselor here at Camp CBG. I am currently studying math and statistics with a minor in secondary education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Toni Barnes

Toni Barnes
Camp CBG Instructor
Hello! This is my ninth 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, 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 fourth summer teaching at Camp CBG. Before moving to Illinois, I was 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 currently teach science at a junior high school. My husband and our young family moved to the Chicago area in 2009. In my spare time, I enjoy playing with my kids 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.

Cookie Center

Cookie “Sharon” Center
Camp CBG Instructor
I am excited to return to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the third year this summer. I retired last year after 22 years as a full-time teacher in Deerfield, Illinois. I have more than 30 years of teaching experience and have taught all grade levels from K through 5.  I earned a B.A. and a M.S. in education from Indiana University and have 36 additional credit hours earned through continuing-education programs. This professional training was primarily in the areas of gifted and talented, and cooperative education. I am an avid gardener and a lifetime learner. I enjoy travelling, art, music, exercise, cooking, and learning about nature.

Liz Dentzer

Liz Dentzer
Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my 11th year teaching at Camp CBG. Before 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 teaching art in elementary schools for more than ten years, and during the school year I teach art to more than 800 scholars in grades K through 6 at a classics-focused charter school in Northern California 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. in interdisciplinary arts education from Columbia College Chicago.

Joyce Elias

Joyce Elias
Camp CBG Instructor
I am a professional artist with a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute and teaching certification from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. I especially enjoy working with mixed media. I have been teaching art to children and adults for many years. This will be my second year teaching at Camp CBG.

Anne Healy

Anne W. Healy
Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my 15th year as a Camp CBG instructor. I have been 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 Saturday Enrichment Program (SEP) for five years. It is such fun to teach science, 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. Six 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 northwest India, viewing the habitats and flocks of the black-necked, demoiselle and sarus cranes. In April 2016 I will travel to the Galapagos Islands and to Machu Picchu in Peru. We will learn all about Darwin. 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! 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 12th 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.

Jill Lisius

Jill Lisius
Camp CBG Instructor
Hi, I am a high school science teacher, and I am returning to Camp CBG after some years away. During the school year I teach chemistry and biology at Adlai E. Steveson High School in Lincolnshire. I am excited to be back at the Garden and I look forward to investigating chemistry at Camp CBG. I believe that giving kids opportunities to experience and question scientific phenomena can be so much more memorable and rewarding when they take ownership of it. I am excited to see what my campers want to investigate this summer. I have three little boys ages 5 and under who love to go nature collecting. I also enjoy ballet, cooking, and outdoor activities like cycling and hiking.

Mila Love

Mila Love
Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my sixth summer with Camp CBG. I have been an instructor at the Garden for several years and enjoy seeing many of our campers and families throughout the year. Before 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.

Carolyn Mohr

Carolyn Mohr
Camp CBG Instructor
This is my fourth year with Camp CBG and it 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 grades 6 to 12 science and math for more than 28 years, 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. I enjoy presenting at NSTA national conferences. 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
Camp CBG Instructor
It is hard to believe, but this will be my 16th summer teaching at Camp CBG. 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 have been a state finalist for the Presidential Math and Science Award twice, and I am National Board-certified. 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.

Cindy Phelan

Cindy Phelan
Camp CBG Instructor
This is my first year at Camp CBG. Before I had children, I was a kindergarten teacher on the North Shore. My three kids are now teenagers, and I have returned to the classroom. I am a first grade assistant in the Wilmette Public Schools. In addition to teaching, I am an artist and specialize in floral illustration. My art company is C Phelan Design, and we primarily work in the wedding industry painting watercolors of beautiful flowers. I received a B.A. in art history from Augustana College and a M.A. in teaching from National Louis University.

Callie Pogge

Callie Pogge
Camp CBG Instructor
I could not be more enthusiastic to return this year for my third summer working at Camp CBG!  I teach high school biology and am a technology coach at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois. I went to the University of Notre Dame, and I am currently working toward my doctorate in curriculum studies through DePaul University. When not teaching, I enjoy running along the lakefront, reading, and cooking. I love to explore science and nature, remain active, and learn every day. I look forward to making this summer experience interesting and engaging.

Nikki Radcliffe

Nikki Radcliffe

Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my fifth 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 fifth 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, Wisconsin, and am licensed to teach grades K through 9.

Mike Rogan

Mike Rogan

Camp CBG Instructor
This is my fourth summer with Camp CBG. I currently teach physics and chemistry to freshmen and sophomores at Lake Forest Academy. I graduated from the University of Illinois at 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 known as “The Physics Van.”  We were a traveling science show that promoted interest in science and engineering to elementary-school students in central Illinois and across the country.

Kasey Rose

Kasey Rose

Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my eighth summer working at the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden. During my years with the Garden I have worked with summer camps, weekend and family programs, and school field trips. Before 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.

Kaylee Tucker

Kaylee Tucker
Camp Counselor
This year will be my sixth at Camp CBG. I am a rising sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying architecture and Spanish. I’m really excited to return to camp this year!

Carolyn Wiggins

Carolyn Wiggins
Camp CBG Instructor
This will be my 11th summer teaching at Camp CBG. I am a retired elementary school teacher from the Chicago suburbs who has taught students from kindergarten through ninth grade and college students at National Louis University. 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 Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden. As a grandmother of six, I love both cooking and exploring nature with young people. I am looking forward to a fantastic week with your camper.

Melissa Wise

Melissa Wise
Camp Counselor
This will be my first summer as a camp counselor at Camp CBG. I was a Leader in Training for three summers and attended the cuisine cooking camp at CBG when I was 12. I love working with kids and being outdoors as well as gardening and cooking. I am a rising junior at Deerfield High School.

Becky Zurek

Becky Zurek
Camp CBG Instructor
This is my fifth summer as a Camp CBG instructor and I am thrilled to be here. I currently teach grade 3 at Aspen Elementary in Vernon Hills during the school year. I love being active and exploring nature. I received my B.A. in education along with a minor in biology from Eastern Illinois University.