Wildlife Camps at State Parks | Staff Bios | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

Meet Our Staff

Anne Riordan

Anne Riordan is a Training Specialist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and is based at Springbrook State Park in Guthrie County. She has spent almost 20 years planning and facilitating inquiry-based learning experiences for school groups, community organizations, summer camps, outdoor skills workshops, and public programs for youth and adult learners. Her passion is getting people, especially children, outside exploring and experiencing the natural world. She loves helping them to stretch beyond their comfort zones. She has been a part of Wildlife Camps in State Parks since the very first year, beginning with Springbrook, later adding Walnut Woods, Stone, and Prairie Rose State Parks.

Jonah Pouleson

Jonah Pouleson is a University of Iowa Graduate who currently works for the University teaching at School of the Wild during the school year and as a Wildlife Camps coordinator at State Parks Camps. He thoroughly enjoys time spent in the out of doors and tries to be outside as much as he can. Jonah enjoys rock climbing, fishing, camping, snowboarding, and most other outdoor pursuits. He is also a proud supporter of public lands as well as organizations such as Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, which promote public land access. He wants everyone to be able to get outside and enjoy nature.

Kelley Grothus

Kelley Grothus is a University of Northern Iowa grad with a  BA in Education & Spanish, a MA from Graceland in Quality Schools, and a Talented & Gifted endorsement from Drake. She has been with Madrid Community School District for 15 years as a Spanish teacher, Talented & Gifted Teacher, Instructional Coach, Girls Track Coach, Cross Country Coach & JH Student Council Advisor (not all at the same time!). She has also been the Religious Education Director at St. Malachy Church for eight years. This year will be Kelley’s 4th summer with the University of Iowa’s State Park Wildlife Camps at Ledges State Park. She enjoys all things outdoors, especially gardening, hiking, and exploring the Boone County area.

Wayne Buchholtz

Wayne Buchholtz is an Upper Iowa University Graduate with a BS in Conservation/Recreation/Management and a BS in Biology. He worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for 38 years and was a Park Ranger for Stone State Park, Lake MacBride State Park, Lake Manawa State Park, and Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. He focused on Natural Resource Management and Interpretation of National and Historical features and is a Certified Interpretive Guide. Wayne has worked as Lead Educator of the Conservation team at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium for four years, where he leads programs, field trips, outreach, and live animal programs. He has 30 years with the Scouts of America and is a Leader and Merit Badge Counselor for scouts. This year is his 3rd summer with the University of Iowa State Park Wildlife Camps. Wayne loves to fly fish, woodworking, gardening, rock/artifact hunting, and hiking.


Julie Sparks

Julie Sparks joined the State Parks Wildlife Camps program in 2018. She holds a degree in animal ecology from Iowa State University and spent 35 years working as a communications specialist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Julie loves all things outdoors, especially hiking, biking, camping, exploring state and national parks, gardening/foraging, and most recently beekeeping. "I'm a firm believer that the future of our world lies in our ability to inspire in others, particularly our youth, a curiosity of, appreciation for, and connection to our natural resources.


Scott Kilgore

Scott Kilgore has been involved in education for 13 years, having taught Language Arts for 11 years before taking on his current role as Technology Coach at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Dubuque, IA. In addition to his traditional classroom experiences, Scott has served as camp director, climbing director, outdoor skills director, and many other roles in the Boy Scouts of America for 14 years. He has been involved with this organization as a member and volunteer for over 30 years. This is his second year working at the University of Iowa Wildlife Camps. He worked the Mines of Spain and Maquoketa Caves camps last year and is excited to add Backbone to the list this year because it is one of his favorite Iowa State Parks. In his free time, you will likely find him outdoors with his wife, two daughters, and a dog. He likes hiking, camping, fly fishing small streams in the Driftless region, and has recently taken up woodcarving.

Maddie Wessels

Maddie Wessels is a Loras College Graduate with a BS in Biology. She has worked for the University of Iowa State Park Wildlife Camps for four summers and is currently a coordinator for the camps. She loves spending time in the outdoors and working with kids. Maddie enjoys hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and exploring new areas. She looks forward to being able to get kids into nature to explore the areas around them and help discover new interests.