Sharon Bladholm

Sharon has pursued her singular vision with a variety of disciplines, including cast glass, bronze and ceramics in the sculptural realm, plus printmaking and works on paper. For over 30 years she has explored the intersections of art, science, conservation and the natural world. She has run Opal Glass Studios since 1983 and continues to complete many important commissions and show her work in galleries and museums, as well as creating public art installations at a wide variety of venues.

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James Semmelroth Darnell

James is a native of Peoria Heights, and was active for several years with Peoria Players and Cornstock Theater. He has been an actor in community theaters in Illinois, Missouri, and Washington, DC. He is a professional fundraiser for Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, VA. James has a BA in theater history from Illinois State University.

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Douglas DePauw

BS, ISU, Art Ed and Studio Art. Doug is a second generation professional fine arts printmaker. He studied and apprenticed with his father, Master Printer Robert DePauw. Currently, Doug has his own studio near Metamora, IL.

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Nicki DePauw

Nicki has been performing and choreographing Bollywood and Indian folk dances since 2014. She started her own Henna business, Peacock Mehendi in 2017 and does everything from fairs to individual appointments.

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Mark DuBois

Mark is a practicing entomologist with many decades experience observing and collecting insects in many ecosystems across the globe. He has named a number of species of ants and has a butterfly named after him. Mark has published roughly 60 peer reviewed papers and chapters in books on various groups of insects. Much of his research has been focused on ants. He has taught classes at Art and Science in the Woods over many years and strives to customize his classes so students gain insights about the natural world and expand their interests.

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Ella Brown Dunn

Ella is a graduate of the University of Illinois Fine Arts department. She teaches artists of all ages and assists in gallery exhibits. She also shows her own work in various galleries and private collections. Ella sits on the Advancement Council Board at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of IL. She currently heads the Fine Arts Department for Next Generations Primary School in Champaign, IL. She resides in Champaign with her husband Chad and daughter Zoe.

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Beth Ann Eggers

Beth is a Daya Foundation certified yoga instructor and Bradley Science Graduate in Photography. She currently instructs and manages Heading OM Yoga Studio in West Peoria. Beyond her experience on the Board of Directors for Sun Foundation, her 20 years of yoga practice includes disciplines in Italy, the Virgin Islands, Hawaii and northern California. She studied Amrita (a form of Vinyasa yoga with influences from Ayurveda, physical therapy, neuroscience, yoga, philosophy, psychology, pranayama and mindfulness) with the Daya foundation in Portland,Oregon. Beth’s yoga practice incorporates Earth Appreciation as well as the ideologies of Native American and Buddhist disciplines.

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Brett Root Ericksen

Brett has studied for 12 years at the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker/Wilderness School and has taken mentoring courses at the Jon Young Wilderness Awareness School. He is a graduate of the SOLO Wilderness Emergency School in Conway, NH. He is a Certified Wilderness EMT, and has completed 425 hours at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Boulder, CO. He is the director of the Aboriginal Survival Arts Program. Brett is the Blue Heron Farm manager and Wildlife Conservation Reserve director. He is the owner of Southern Flight Outfitters.

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Sue Fischbach

Sue graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Special Education. She holds a certificate in Sign Language Interpreting from Illinois Central College. She is a mom, Girl Scout leader and science lover. She currently lives in Nashville, TN, and works as a freelance sign language interpreter.

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Dan Fitzpatrick

For the past 12 years Dan has taught Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Anatomy, Environmental Science, Agriculture and Agricultural science at LaMoille HIgh School. Currently he teaches chemistry, anatomy and environmental science at St. Bead. He is a 5th generation farmer with experience growing commercial crops, livestock, bees, orchards and maple sugar. Dan has also taught thousands of 5th-8th graders outdoor education at Lorado Taft field campus as part of the outdoor education masters program. He is a master naturalist for the University of Illinois and is part of Tom Brown Jr.’s tracker school apprentice program.

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Gretchen Fitzpatrick

Gretchen is a Henna artist and art teacher. She received her B.A. from Colorado State University, concentrating in Art Education and Drawing. She has been practicing Henna at local fairs and events for 6 years and teaching art K-12 for 18 years. In addition to teaching art she is also owner of Paint by Friends (paint parties), a licensed Massage Therapist and a certified National Archer in the Schools instructor.

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Merrill Foster

Ph.D. Harvard University. Dr. Foster is a retired professor who discusses his subject as enthusiastically with an 8 year old as he did with his college students. Dr. Foster’s classes are always popular and fill up fast. Dr. Foster taught geology at Bradley University for over 40 years.

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Shelley Fritz

MS, ED, ISU. Shelley as taught for over 25 years. In the past she taught science and writing in her capacity as special education teacher and she was teacher/director of her district’s gifted and talented program. She has taught preschool science classes locally as well as education courses at ICC and Bradley University. She is now Student assistance Coordinator at Peoria Christian School (teaching resource and enrichment classes) and regularly volunteers to teach art and science lessons in local elementary schools. Other areas she studies and loves to share include theater, storytelling, poetry and rhythmic hand drumming.

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Christy Ganson

Christy is a graduate of Illinois College and holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies from the U of I Springfield. Her career has included working as an environmental protection specialist at the Illinois EPA and ENTICE at the Illinois DNR. She has worked in three different park districts including Director of the Metamora Park District. She has been a preschool director, outdoor educator and art teacher. She was a middle school science teacher in Dunlap and is currently the 7th grade Life Science teacher at Germantown Hills.

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Douglas Holmes

A.A. Illinois Central College. Doug has been a herpetologist at the Peoria Zoo and a Sun Foundation instructor for many years.

Currently he is president of the Central Illinois Herpetological Society and is actively involved on the boards of the Peoria Academy of Science and the Sun Foundation. He has worked with many endangered and threatened species. He is very interested in amphibian and turtle conservation. He feels it is environmentally important to get kids interested in the sciences and the natural world.

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Preston Jackson

Guest Artist—MFA University of Illinois. Recipient of the State of Illinois Lincoln Award. Nationally exhibited sculptor and professional musician. Chairman of Sculpture Department, Art Institute of Chicago. Sun Foundation Board Member and Arts Advisor.

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Mike Kershnar

Mike grew up in the Southern California world of skateboarding, surfing, graffiti and primitive skills. He has designed skateboard graphics for prominent youth subculture brands such as Element, Toy Machine, Volcom, Obey, Baker and Ecko. Kershnar is also a huge lover of rock poster art and has done posters for bands such as Morrissey, Wilco, Midnite, Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead) and the Beastie Boys.

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Oba William King

The “poetic storyteller”, Oba is entertaining, inspirational, incredibly fun, exciting and engaging. Students are introduced to storytelling in a camp group full of rhythm and rhyme. Children are encouraged to follow their dreams, try their best, respect the elders, respect each other and most of all to respect themselves. Oba has performed at the International Storytelling Center, The Kennedy Center, The GHW Bush Presidential Library and the National Association of Black Storytellers annual festival and conference.

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Jimmy Lakota Edwards

Jimmy is a drummer, dancer, singer and speaker. His performances reflect the ever evolving native culture while preserving traditional ways. He is a member of the drum dance group Eagle Ridge Singers and Friends who help him teach and perform at Art and Science in the Woods.

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