The Nation's Premier Environmental Education Program

Lake Geneva Faculty and Staff

presentation

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.

presentation

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.

presentation

Vicki A.

Education Director

Vicki is originally from Indiana and attended Indiana University Bloomington. She majored in Environmental Management and began working at NCI straight out of college. Vicki fell in love with Environmental Education as working at NCI afforded her the amazing opportunity to share her love of nature and the world with kids. When Vicki isn’t working, she can be either be found reading, swimming or trying to have new and exciting adventures.

presentation

Gabe I.

Education Director

Gabe was born and raised in Hollidaysburg, PA where he enjoyed bird watching and exploring the nearby woods of Rothrock State Forest. He graduated from Penn State Erie, the Behrend College with a degree in Biology. Gabe spent the last summer as Naturalist at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, PA, and used many of the skills he learned in his first year at NCI. Gabe is now looking forward to a great second season on the NCI crew! When not working, Gabe can usually be found with a guitar in hand, bird watching, or looking for a good movie.

presentation

Amy K.

Environmental Educator

Amy graduated from Juniata College in Pennsylvania. She studied Environmental Science with an emphasis in aquatics. Last year Amy was an intern with the Chesapeake Conservation Corps, where she planned and lead environmental education programs about rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. Amy enjoys hiking, reading, drinking tea, looking at cool bugs, and learning to paint with watercolors.

presentation

Kelly B.

Enviornmental Educator

Kelly studied Zoology and Sustainability with a minor in Sociology at Miami University. Over the summer Kelly worked as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Elburn, IL. There she loved taking care of both injured and orphaned wild animals and helping them be released out into the wild again. When she is not working with either animals or humans; Kelly enjoys dancing like an idiot, curling up with tea and a good book, or petting every single dog that crosses her path.

presentation

Mira M.

Environmental Educator

Mira graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the spring of 2019 where she graduated with a double major in Community and Environmental Sociology and Environmental Studies as well as a double minor in Gender and Women Studies and Spanish. She has previously worked studying the sociological pressures and outcomes on the domestic water systems in Pilcopata, Peru as well as the biomanipulation of fish in Maldonado, Uruguay. Mira spends her free time road tripping to National Parks, painting, and reading too many books at once. She is excited about her first year here at Nature’s Classroom Institute and loves discussing sustainability, art, and social justice with her students.

presentation

Noah D.

Environmental Educator

Noah is originally from Ellicott City, Maryland and attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He majored in Financial Economics with a minor in Psychology. He moved to Delavan, Wisconsin in the summer of 2019 to work with a leadership development camp. He joined NCI for the 2019-2020 school year in order to share his passion for the environment and various cultures. On the weekends, Noah can be found exploring new areas in the local state and national parks as well as hanging out with the other NCI staff!

presentation

Matt L.

Environmental Educator

Matthew attended York College of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Matthew volunteered at Camp Kirchenwald in Lebanon, PA where he taught environmental education. He loves to watch historic films, play dungeons and dragons, as well as any board game he can get my hands on. He also loves to bicycle on beautiful trails.

presentation

Clarissa S.

Environmental Educator

Clarissa studied at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a major in Human Services Leadership and a minor in Environmental Studies. She has previous experience teaching K-8 students gardening and about where their food comes from. She is also a professional henna artist. Clarissa enjoys kayaking, camping, swimming in nature. She also loves throwing pottery, cooking, baking and hanging out with friends and family. Clarissa feels alive discovering new cultures and landscapes across the world.