Wildlife Camps Staff | Recreational Services
University of Iowa

Our staff is what makes our program successful! We're lucky to have a group of fun, adventurous, dedicated, and dynamic people lead our camps.

Meredith

Meredith Caskey

Director of Wildlife Camps 

Meredith came to Wildlife Camps in the summer of 1999 and was assigned to Eagle Camp teaching Wetlands Study and was hooked after the first day exploring Spider Pond with campers. She stayed on after that summer at School of the Wild and eventually moved into leading the Ornithology curriculum. This includes using mist nets to catch songbirds safely and placing federal aluminum bands on their legs to track them. Through the years she has taught everything at Camps and create curriculum for all of them, as well as develop new programs. Always looking for that perfect balance between environmental education and outdoor recreation is a continuous goal. Finding fun and safe ways for campers to experience the wild continues to be my focus. When she's not learning alongside campers, you can find her adventuring with my family. They like to rock climb, bike, go stand-up paddle boarding and play Farkle. Her family's small home zoo consists of 3 chickens, 2 cats, a turtle, 2 bunnies, a fish, and one old dog.


Chad

Chad Swope

Assistant Director for Camps

This is Chad's 16th summer working at Wildlife Camps. He is excited for another summer of doing the job he loves, working with the best staff in the world, and giving kids one of their greatest summers yet!


Laura

Laura Waldo-Semken

Osprey Camp

Laura has a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Kansas, an AAS in Parks and Natural Resources from Kirkwood Community College and is currently working toward a master's degree in environmental education and interpretation from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. She has been with the Wildlife Camps program since 2001 because she loves exploring the woods with kids and discovering meaningful ways to connect children with nature. Laura is also the assistant director of the Iowa Raptor Project.


Annie Whiteside

Merlin Camp

Annie has been a life-long Wildlife camper and is a third year staff member! Growing up going to camp gave her a love for all things outdoors. She received her first bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 2016 and is currently working towards her second degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys working with people and children of all abilities and cannot wait to explore Lake Macbride with Merlin camp this summer!


Mary Mysnyk

Owl Camp

Mary is a middle school science and literature teacher at Heritage Christian School. She has volunteered at the Raptor Project for the last year and has loved learning more about the amazing birds there. Mary was born and raised in Iowa City, so she attended Wildlife Camps as a student and is excited to help lead Owl Camp this year!


Andrea Malek

Owl Camp

During the school year, Andrea is a science teacher in Cedar Rapids. She loves seeing kids connect with something meaningful to them and the fun of being around young people and their ideas. Andrea enjoys reading, running, learning to garden, and being a part of the Iowa City community. She is also looking forward to meeting our owl campers this summer!


Mike Fallon

Falcon Camp

Mike Fallon earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Resource Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) in 2006. Over the years, Mike has worked in various capacities, mostly in the field of natural resources management. From 1999 - 2001, while living in Socorro, New Mexico, Mike worked as both the district Forester and a Wildland Firefighter. From 2004 - 2017 Mike owned and operated a business, entitled "Native Landscaping, LLC", specializing in prairie, savanna and woodland restoration. In 2016, Mike began volunteering at School of the Wild, another Recreational Services outdoor education program that partners with area schools to provide nature-based, outdoor classroom experience to sixth grade students. From that moment, Mike was hooked and decided to teach his passion, "environmental restoration", to a new crop of budding scientists. Mike now works as a substitute teacher for School of the Wild and full-time coordinator (Falcon Camp) for Wildlife Camps.


Emily Holmes

Harrier Camp

Emily is a student at The University of Iowa studying Therapeutic Recreation. This summer will be her first time coordinating Wildlife Camp. Emily absolutely love the outdoors and cannot wait to spend her summer adventuring through nature with Harrier Camp!


Brian Froelich

Kestrel Corps Coordinator

Brian is a recent Sports and Recreation Management graduate from the University of Iowa. He has worked with the Outdoors Programs for the past 4 years and is excited to continue working with the program even after graduation. Brian has grown up loving the outdoors through camps and being a Boy Scout and loves the fact that he gets to continue his passion for it. He is excited to be the Kestrel Corps coordinator and help all these kids grow!


Jacob Lampe

Hawk Camp

Spending time outside is one of Jacob's favorite activities and helping kids learn only adds to his enjoyment. He has a degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services and has spent 3 wonderful summers working at these summer camps.


Christine Sobocinski

Eagle Camp

Christine teaches third and fourth grade at Willowwind School in Iowa City. She is a recipient of the Robert E. Yager Active Learning Award for her efforts in outdoor education and authentic learning through experience.  Christine is passionate about playing outside and loves studying biology and environmental science each summer along side our campers.


Jeff

Jeff Connor

Owl Camp Coordinator

I am a science teacher at Iowa City West High school. I love adventure and appreciate the beautiful complexities of nature. One of my goals in life is to share these passions with young people and to help them develop their own connections with nature.