Wildlife Camps Staff | Recreational Services
The 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 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. Through the years she has taught everything at Camps and School and enjoys helping to create curricula, as well as develop new programs. She is always looking for that perfect blend of environmental education and outdoor recreation to create fun and memorable experiences. Finding safe ways for campers to experience the wild continues to be a big part of her job. When she's not learning alongside campers, you can find her adventuring with her family. They like to rock & ice climb, bike, stand-up paddle board, hike and introduce others to the great outdoors. 


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!

Kaitlyn Thiel

Falcon Camp

Kaitlyn is a Nursing student from the Chicago suburbs. She is passionate about science, hiking and fresh air! She can talk all day about animals (her cat included). She is excited for a fun packed educational summer! 

Julia Thomer

Osprey Camp

Hello, my name is Julia Thomer, and I am excited be the coordinator for the Osprey Camp this summer! I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation in May of 2020 from the University of Iowa, and I am currently in graduate school to be a child life specialist. Playing in nature is one of my favorite past times whether that may be swimming in a lake in the summertime, skiing down snowy mountains, or hammocking between two giant trees while watching the flowers bloom in the spring.

Emily Kriegl

Hawk Camp

Emily just graduated from the University of Iowa with her master's degree in teaching Biology and Earth Science.  She is the new Earth Science teacher at Clear Creek Amana High School, and she enjoys anything and everything having to do with science.  In her free time, she likes gardening, sustainability, camping, and reading.

Mason Carter

Osprey Camp

Mason is a current freshman at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire studying engineering and French.  He attended West High School in Iowa City and has been with the Wildlife Camps as a camper and a kestrel since he and his family moved to Iowa before 5th grade.  He is excited to spend the summer exploring nature at Macbride Nature Recreation Area with all of the campers.

Abbie Craig

Eagle Camp

My name is Abbie Craig, I am from Johnston, Iowa. I recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Elementary Education. I completed my student teaching at School of the Wild, and I am excited to work with camps this summer. In the fall, I will be teaching 2nd Grade in Dallas Center-Grimes.

Ellen Carman

Falcon Camp

Ellen is a 5th grade Math and Science teacher. She has her M.Ed from Johns Hopkins University and has spent the last three years teaching in Charlotte, NC. Ellen is passionate about planning and delivering engaging environmental science experiences that inspire campers to keep wondering about the natural world. She is in her seventh summer with Wildlife Camps!

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.

Erica Dodge

Assisting with all Camps

This is Erica's third year working with the University of Iowa Wildlife camps. In addition to working with the Wildlife Camps she is a Graduate Student studying Secondary Science Education, with the hopes to be a science teacher. She is currently serving a term with Green Iowa AmeriCorp, working with Clear Creek Amana on Sustainability Initiatives for the district and serving the greater Iowa City Area. Erica will be our substitute staff member this summer.

Candace Weigand

Assistant Coordinator/Bus Driver

Candace has been driving school buses in the Iowa City Community School District since 2016 and driving for the Wildlife Camps since 2017. Her favorite part of the job is meeting the kids each year and facilitating a safe, fun and enjoyable bus ride. She is also an accomplished artist and her studio can be found at Taag Studios in Iowa City and work can be seen online at www.candaceweigand.com.

Caroline Carter

Eagle Camp

Hello, my name is Caroline Carter! I am a first year public health major at the University of Iowa with a global health studies certificate. In my free time I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding and bike riding. I have been a part of the Wildlife Camps for many years and I can't wait to continue! 

Cescily Vance

Hawk Camps

Cescily has just finished her course work at The University of Iowa in Music Therapy, with a minor in Psychology. Cescily holds a special place in her heart for the University of Iowa Wildlife Camps. As a kid, she grew up going to camps at least once a summer if not more! In high school, she became a volunteer in the Kestrel Corps. Finally, Cescily joined the official staff in the summer of 2017 and has been on staff ever since. She is excited to work with her favorite camp, Hawk Camp, as assistant coordinator this summer and looks forward to seeing new and returning campers once again!

Grace Ahlers

Grace is a senior at the University of Iowa and is studying Biology with a Spanish minor. She enjoys hiking, spending time outdoors, and making learning interesting for kids!