Our staff are passionate about exploring the natural world and in using hands-on discovery and student-directed learning to expand your child’s knowledge, relationships, and skills. We wanted to give you a brief intro of the educators who will be working with your students. Please never hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, or concerns!

Dragonflies

Kacey Tait

Lead Teacher: Monday & Friday

Hi there! I am thrilled to have joined the team at Riveredge as the Inquiry-Based Curriculum & Instruction Manager in August 2018. I grew up in Michigan and around Chicago, and have spent over 10 years working at nature centers, zoos, and forest preserves around the Midwest. I’ve even done some overseas research in Madagascar and Borneo, studying endemic carnivores. I  graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 2013 with a degree in Wildlife Ecology (Education option). Additionally, I will complete my master’s in Biological Teaching from Miami University in December with a focus on inquiry-based learning and community-based conservation.  In my spare time, I love to rock-climb, travel, collect fossils, and draw animals.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions that may arise regarding our Homeschool Ed-Ventures curriculum, thank you.

Pam Uihlein

pam

Lead Teacher: Friday

I began coming to Riveredge on school field trips in the 1980’s. That lead to attending summer camps, teen trips, volunteering and a summer spent working with the camp program. I attended Colorado College and graduated with a BA in environmental studies. After graduation, I spent several wonderful years in Colorado doing educational programs focused on wolves and wolf recovery in Colorado. I then headed to Montana for graduate school, where I received an MS in Environmental Studies, and worked for an organization doing education on black, grizzly and polar bears. I also taught for the Wild Rockies Field Institute where I lead college students on backcountry trips with an academic component. After Montana, I headed east where I lived in upstate New York and worked as an environmental educator at the Mohonk Preserve for 11 years. My specialties included working with students with disabilities in the outdoors, black bear education, and water ecology. It’s great to be back living in Wisconsin and be a part of the Riveredge community once again. I’m excited to teach and learn alongside our homeschool students and look forward to the year ahead.

Chris Knutson

Assistant Teacher: Monday
Chris’ education background includes time at UW-Oshkosh majoring in lower elementary and special education, a nursing degree from the University of Arkansas, and a completion of Andy Larsen’s Teacher Naturalist training classes at Riveredge Nature Center from 1986-1987. Chris was employed by the Washington County Mental Health Center from 1979-2000 as a Psychiatric Registered Nurse, and since 2000 has worked with her husband in their home inspection business. In Chris’ words: “My love of nature started with growing up on 80 acres that included a lake in the Town of Trenton. Days were spent outside doing all of the things that we now are encouraging children to do. I was a Riveredge Kid before there was a Riveredge. Hiking, swimming, tree climbing, bug catching, cloud watching, plant identification (knowledge of Poison Ivy came early on), animal watching, and in general a very deep enjoyment of being outside. I have been passing this love of the out of doors on to my two children, three grandsons, and others through my actions and by being active in more things at Riveredge than can be listed here. Teaching of the youngest children is what I find most enjoyable at this time, especially having them become more aware and sensitized to the nature.” Chris is the Dragonflies Assistant Teacher on Mondays.

Monarchs

Stephanie Koller

Lead Teacher: Monday & Friday

At Riveredge, “You’re always a Riveredge kid”. As a Seasonal Naturalist at Riveredge, this is what I tell to everyone who comes to Riveredge, no matter their age or whether they are there to play, visit, or discover. I became a part of the Riveredge Nature Center staff when I was hired as a 2015 summer intern. In this position I observed many of Riveredge’s school programs as well as assisted and lead summer camps. After my first great summer with Riveredge came to an end, I started looking for other jobs I could obtain with my Bachelor’s Degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology and conservation and a minor in human development from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay since my internship was soon to be over. When I was offered the position as a Seasonal Naturalist at Riveredge, to say the least, I was ecstatic. Since that time, I have assisted with the Dragonfly and Hawks homeschool groups, lead multiple summer camps, and learned school programs all the way from Johnny Appleseed to Maple Sugaring. The first time I stepped foot at Riveredge was when I was interviewing for my summer internship, and I thought it was odd that they thought even I was a “Riveredge Kid”. Now I realize all of the times I have been outside exploring, learning, and even getting a little dirty in the process I was becoming and always will be a “Riveredge Kid”.

Jim Ellis

Co-Lead Teacher – Monday : Assistant Teacher – Friday

`After leaving full time employment at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as a family therapist and diabetes educator, Jim has pursued his lifelong interest in the natural world. In 2012, he completed a course at Riveredge to become certified as a Wisconsin Master Naturalist.   Since, he has volunteered as a Teacher Naturalist with the Homeschool Ed-ventures Program and co-leads the Monarchs. Jim loves watching the kids discover themselves as they discover nature.

Other volunteer work includes, serving as Chair of the Stewardship Committee and a Director for the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog; controlling invasive species at the Cedarburg Bog and in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine Forest. As a citizen scientist, he does monitoring for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey and various bird surveys.

Jim is the resident land steward and co-owner of Turtle Springs Farm in Southwestern Sheboygan County. Once a working farm, this property is now a nature preserve/wildlife refuge with several acres of planted prairie and an abundance of trees and shrubs for wildlife habitat. Caring for this property is a labor of love and has been integral to his evolving as a naturalist.

Jim earned in BA in Psychology from Iowa Wesleyan College (1966) and a MSW from the University of Iowa (1968). He also was a field work instructor for the Helen Bader School of Social Work at UWM (1974 – 2006). Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly fifty years of experience working with children and families. He and his wife, Patricia Baker Ellis, have a small psychotherapy practice located in Saukville, WI.

Molli Rasmussen

Assistant Teacher for Stephanie’s Monday Monarchs

I am looking forward to exploring and learning about the natural world with your child at Riveredge!  Let me tell you a little about myself…. I received my BS in Botany from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  As an undergrad, I assisted in the research of early flowering genes in plants.  Upon graduating, I worked for MitoScan Corporation, which produced and sold toxicity bioassays for environmental and pharmaceutical research.  I extracted submitochondrial particles from bovine hearts and created reagents as well as conducted internal tests to examine MitoScan’s potential applications. My love for plants, art and the outdoors led me to pursue graduate studies in landscape architecture.  I worked for MD Fotheringham, Landscape Architects in San Francisco where I designed landscape spaces for communities.  My analemmatic sundial design, where the child is the gnomen, was built in 2009 as part of Bernal Community Park in Pleasanton, CA. I moved back to Madison and worked for Schonheit Gardens maintaining and designing private gardens.  I then transferred to Chicago where I was a horticulturist for the Chicago Botanic Garden overseeing both the rose and dwarf conifer display gardens.  Besides being involved at Riveredge, I am currently an adult tap dance instructor through Cedarburg’s Recreation Department, a Tiger Scout leader, and a mom to two young boys, ages 4 and 6. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to foster your child’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for nature.

Hawks

Lauren Wendland

Lead Teacher:  Monday and Friday

Hello! I have been an Environmental Educator at Riveredge since 2006. I am involved with teaching our school, homeschool and summer camp programs. I enjoy teaching children about the natural world, especially taking pleasure in their excitement and enthusiasm as they explore and learn. As the lead environmental educator, my job is to make things run more smoothly for Education Staff. Needless to say, I don’t sit down very much!

I earned my BS from UW-Milwaukee Educational Studies program, focusing on non-school organizations, nonprofit, and community-based education. Much to my  surprise,I continue to receive my best education working here at Riveredge, learning about the world through nature, and the people I meet at this beautiful place.

I live in Port Washington with my husband and I have two grown daughters and one grandson. I enjoy all that is outside; hiking, camping, biking, running. I also like to quiet down a bit with yoga, and reading.

Sarah Follett

Assistant Teacher – Friday

Hello. My name is Sarah Follett and I’m looking forward to this fall and working with Riveredge’s educational programming. No opportunity is better than a mix of nature, children, and environmental education. I love the idea of children learning about science and nature directly through hands-on experiences within the environment. I have lived in the area for over 25 years, raised my four children in harmony with nature, and as I head into semi-retirement I have become an avid volunteer within the community. I have worked with NAMI of Washington County Inc, a nonprofit dedicated to working for those affected by mental health concerns. I work with adults and children affected by mental illness as well as their families.  I also work with Casa Guadalupe in West Bend tutoring at risk children during an after-school program. My love of working with vulnerable populations has led me to a position on the Washington County Mental Health task force as well as serving on the Washington County Human Services Board. Beyond volunteering, my hobbies include organic gardening, maintaining my fruit tree orchard, visiting historic sites, and hiking.

Cassie Bauer

Lead Teacher:  Monday

Cassie Bauer joined the Riveredge Team in April, 2015 as the Family and Community Programs Manager and a Monarchs Homeschool Lead teacher. This is Cassie’s first season as a Hawks Homeschool educator and she is excited to work with 3rd and 4th grade students! She graduated from UW- Stevens Point in 2008 with a bachelor’s of science in Environmental Education and Natural Resource Management. Over the past 10 years she has worked with non-profit organizations that have led her to the Prince William Sound in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and back to the Great Lakes of Wisconsin.  She loves to kayak, garden, cook, hike,travel and spend time with her 2 dogs. Cassie looks forward to learning something new every day.

Sturgeon

Carly Jo Hintz

Lead Teacher: Monday

Carly has been on staff at Riveredge since July 2015 as their Educational Technology & Evaluation Specialist. In this role, she

finds ways to integrate new media tools to enhance learning, as well as create ways to measure program effectiveness and participant impact among students and visitors of Riveredge. In addition to these specialties, Carly teaches various school, homeschool (Formerly Hawks, now Sturgeon), summer camp (Garden Wonders), and other general public education programs at Riveredge.

She is a Wisconsin native, and spends much of her time hiking, photographing, riding horses, and growing food. Although she recently took a five year hiatus to work in environmental science field in the state of Florida, her public education comes from Wisconsin where she recently received her M.S. in Environmental Education from UW-Stevens Point. Prior to that, she graduated from UW-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts and certificate in Environmental Studies from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Nikki Aterianus

Lead Teacher: Monday & Friday
Nikki Aterianus is enthusiastic about joining the Riveredge Nature Center and staff this year.  She received bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Psychology before returning to UWM for her teaching certifications.  Nikki has worked with both middle school and high school students in MPS and at Webster Transitional School in Cedarburg.  She is looking forward to the energy, curiosity, and excitement that middle school students bring to the class, and cannot wait to get outside with them.  In her free time she enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, watching public television, and talking about almost anything science related.

Tom Doane

Assistant Teacher: Monday and Friday

I was raised in a small college town in upstate New York, where both of my parents were educators…..hence my love of learning. I had two brothers with whom I hiked, camped, boated, fished, hunted etc….hence my love of nature.

I earned five college degrees and probably would have ended up an academic if I hadn’t been drafted out of Cornell University graduate school. While in the USAF, I was able to complete my MS from Cornell and then had the opportunity to earn a second Master’s Degree in management from the University of Texas and a PhD in environmental toxicology from Virginia Tech.

I’m retired from three careers. My first retirement was from the USAF as a Lt Colonel with a final position of Director of Environmental Protection for the Human Systems Center. My next career was with Battelle Memorial Institute and I retired as the Director of Operations in San Antonio TX. My third career was with the US Forest Service and I retired as GS-15 Regional Director of Air, Water, Lands, Soils and Minerals (AWLSM) for the 20 state Eastern Region.

Although I spent all that time getting an education as a scientist, my career path ended up more in management, so I’m very happy to again be “working as a scientist” at Riveredge Nature Center since 2013. It is a joy to have the chance to “relearn” much of what I’ve forgotten over the years as a manager, and to learn new things while working with the great staff at RNC and helping teach a new generation of future citizen-scientists.

I also serve on the Boards of Trustees for the Lakeview Community Library and the newly incorporated 4 county Library System which includes 33 libraries. Another chance to learn!

My wife Donna and I live on 27 acres north of RNC and are surrounded by hundreds of acres of fields, trees and wetlands. For us even a walk to the mailbox is a nature walk! We also breed and show Boxer dogs and have had over 24 AKC Champions over the last 30+ years.

Tom Johnson

Substitute Assistant
Tom Johnson recently joined Riveredge as a Volunteer Teacher Naturalist, and is looking forward to joining the homeschool team. He holds an Associates Degree in Applied Sciences from Milwaukee Area Technical College, and has acquired 60 credits in General Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an emphasis in science. Tom’s career includes experience working in the maintenance department at UW-Milwaukee, and he recently retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Tom is curious about how we can best restore natural habitat and maintain a good balance for all living (co-dependent) species on our planet.

Coyotes

Pam Uihlein

pam

Co-Lead Teacher

I began coming to Riveredge on school field trips in the 1980’s. That lead to attending summer camps, teen trips, volunteering and a summer spent working with the camp program. I attended Colorado College and graduated with a BA in environmental studies. After graduation, I spent several wonderful years in Colorado doing educational programs focused on wolves and wolf recovery in Colorado. I then headed to Montana for graduate school, where I received an MS in Environmental Studies, and worked for an organization doing education on black, grizzly and polar bears. I also taught for the Wild Rockies Field Institute where I lead college students on backcountry trips with an academic component. After Montana, I headed east where I lived in upstate New York and worked as an environmental educator at the Mohonk Preserve for 11 years. My specialties included working with students with disabilities in the outdoors, black bear education, and water ecology. It’s great to be back living in Wisconsin and be a part of the Riveredge community once again. I’m excited to teach and learn alongside our homeschool students and look forward to the year ahead.

Dan Wundrock

Co-Lead Teacher

Dan Wundrock is an Environmental Educator who joined the Riveredge staff in 2012. Having done his undergrad and graduate work in biology, Dan spent the first ten years of his career as a high school biology and special education teacher followed by 25+ years heading up science based research and distribution companies. For over ten years, Dan also led youth groups on mountaineering adventures into some of Colorado’s most isolated wilderness areas teaching to respect and value of our environment. Dan brings unique outdoor skills to the Riveredge education program having spent numerous years researching and photographing rare arctic birds in the remote habitats of Lapland, Iceland, Newfoundland and Alaska and most recently working in a remote area of the Congo assisting in a Bonobo research project. His educational philosophy is to continually challenge his students to meet their maximum potential while having fun in the process. He believes that Riveredge, through the use of its outdoor facilities, offers remarkable tools for hands-on learning. Dan lives in Cedarburg with his wife Mary and has four children plus nine grandchildren.