The Nation's Premier Environmental Education Program

Camp Lake Faculty and Staff

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Geoffrey E. Bishop

Executive Director

Geoffrey E. Bishop, hails from the bush in North West NSW, Australia. After his childhood spent on his family’s sheep station he went to an agricultural boarding school for five years, and then to University in both Sydney and Melbourne where he studied Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

For the next 10 years he traveled the world, visiting over 80 countries, where he spent most of his time trekking in rural areas, learning cultures and understanding his place in the world.

In 1996 Geoffrey started Nature’s Classroom Institute of Wisconsin, Inc. NCI is a residential environmental education program serving schools throughout the Midwest. The Nature’s Classroom Institute program helps students understand the natural environment, participate in ecosystem exploration and study, and work together with their peers and teachers as a community. The program includes activities such as confidence-building, group challenges, historical simulations, scientific explorations, and many more hands-on academic lessons.

After developing a strong academic and environmental outdoor based curriculum, he formed Nature’s Classroom Montessori School that blends the core philosophy of Montessori with his environmental principles. The past Board Chair of the Wisconsin Association of Environmental Education (WAEE), he has been honored by WAEE as Wisconsin Non-Formal Educator of the Year.

Nature’s Classroom is on 400 acres in the small rural community of Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Geoffrey’s passionate and sustained focus over the past 15 years has been on organics and sustainability in schools while promoting getting children back outdoors and helping adults understand the importance of instinctive play in the natural world.

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Carrie Benzinger

Director of Outreach

After joining Nature’s Classroom Institute and Montessori School in February 2018, Carrie also joined the NCI Lake Geneva WI team in October 2018.

Carrie grew up in the Milwaukee area, is married, has 3 sons and currently lives in the Mukwonago area. She enjoys cooking, baking and spending time with her family.

Carrie is interested in everything Nature’s Classroom Institute (and Montessori School) offers students and is eager to learn much more about the entire program.

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Oli F.

Education Director

Born and raised in Bournemouth on the South Coast of England. I have worked in the UK, Dubai and Tanzania where I guided walks and safaris. Attended music school and am an accomplished guitarist playing in bands over the years and releasing several albums. I love being outside and  as a trained watersport and bushcraft instructor and qualified lowland leader working with kids and passing on knowledge is a passion of mine. Being English I am a big football (soccer) fan and passionately support Manchester United.

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Grace K.

Environmental Educator

Grace Koch hails from Warren, Michigan, but she spent many summers exploring the woods and lakes surrounding Cedarville, Michigan in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. In the summer of 2017 at her college, she worked as a Tutor-Councilor with Upward Bound, a federal education program intended to provide at risk-students with the skills they would need to attend college and escape generational poverty. In 2019, Grace graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Lake Superior State University. Afterwards, she spent a year working on an Environmental Citizenship Project with teachers from Academy 21, a hybrid virtual high school, wherein high school students explored a variety of environmental topics ranging from the watershed, to recycling, and helped set up a community garden. Being raised in a family of educators, she understands the absolute need to inspire children to grow into themselves and find their love of the world. Her main love is biology and ecology, but she also can gush about world mythology, games of nearly any kind, and loves sitting down to tell stories. When she isn’t itching to get out with a pole in her hand, Grace enjoys finding a comfortable spot to read or crochet, or gathering around a table with friends with a board and some dice.

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Renae I.

Environmental Educator

Renae is a recent graduate with a degree in Environmental Science. She has a passion for teaching children scientific concepts and has done so through volunteer experiences, most recently at a local wetland center, and discovered an interest in helping children better appreciate nature. Her hobbies include hiking, reading, doing crafts, and drawing.