Dr. Michael Dentzau, Executive Director
Dr. Dentzau earned his bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, his masters from Texas A&M University, and his doctorate from Florida State University. He has been at Florida State University since 2010. Prior to that, Dr. Dentzau was president of an environmental services company where he was responsible for all aspects of company development and project management. Among those responsibilities were wetland and upland evaluations, environment site assessments, endangered species reviews, habitat enhancement and restoration, and regulatory guidance. Dr. Dentzau’s background in environmental services dates back to 1993 when he worked as an environmental manager/specialist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Lauren Johnson, Education Program Manager
Lauren Johnson joined the Oxbow Meadows team in 2012. She earned her Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree in Science Education at Florida Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Environmental Education at Nova Southeastern University, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at LaGrange College, and is currently studying for her Doctorate of Education at Columbus State University. Prior to joining Oxbow Meadows she worked for the Alabama 4-H Coosa River Science School, Merritt Island Rotary Park Nature Center, F. D. Roosevelt State Park, and Palm Bay Academy Charter Middle School. Lauren has also spent time as an AmeriCorps volunteer in California and a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys hiking with her hound dog Shiloh, crocheting, playing the piano, and exploring the outdoors.
Kerstin Motsch, Environmental Educator and Volunteer Coordinator
Kerstin (Care-stin) was born in the Philippines and spent a majority of her childhood throughout South and Central America. Her family then moved to Eugene, Oregon (go Ducks!), but it was long before that when she realized that she wanted to have a career in the environmental science field. Kerstin graduated from Oregon State University where she majored in both Spanish and Environmental Science with an emphasis in aquatic biology. Throughout her undergraduate career she volunteered in the fisheries and wildlife department working in both a lab and in the field with salmonids. After graduation she worked for the Bureau of Land Management on the Oregon Coast as well as volunteered for Hatfield Marine Science Center. Kerstin enjoys spending a lot of my time outdoors, hiking, camping, jogging and biking she also loves reading for pleasure and has a slight obsession with National Geographic.
Julie “Julia” Chambers, Administrative Assistant
Julia a.k.a Julie was born in Ft. Richardson, Alaska into a military family. After living all over the United States, her family retired to Columbus, GA where she attended Kendrick High School. After high school, Julie moved to Houston, Texas, where she worked as a legal secretary/paralegal for over 25 years. She returned to Columbus, Georgia at the end of 2009 to be closer to her family, although her daughter, Jessica, has made her home in Houston, Texas with her husband. Julie obtained her associates’ degree in criminal justice/paralegal studies and her bachelors’ degree in political science and government from Kaplan and Ashford Universities. She loves dogs and pet sits, and loves the outdoors, particularly, the Chattahoochee River, and looks forward to whitewater rafting.
Julia King, Animal Curator & Naturalist
Julia grew up in a small suburb of New York City. She began her life in the south when she went to undergrad at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. While earning her bachelor’s degree in biology, class of 2014, Julia worked as an aquarist intern up in New England when home on school breaks. After college, she spent a year down in the Florida Keys sailing and scuba diving with the Boy Scouts of America at the Florida Sea Base high adventure camp. She then moved to Georgia to work as an environmental educator at Rock Eagle 4H Center, where she was trained to handle and care for various species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and raptors. In early 2017 she happily joined the Oxbow team as the Animal Curator. When she’s not working Julia can usually be found sailing around New England, getting a sunburn in southwest Florida, rereading Harry Potter, or taste-testing different pizzerias around Columbus.
Shane Hester, Maintenance Technician
Shane was born in Madisonville, Kentucky, but traveled around much of his early childhood only to find his way back to Kentucky as a young teenager. Shane served with the Kentucky National Guard where he fell in love with the Army life leading him to go to the Army full time where he made two tours of combat in Iraq as well as one to Korea. While on active duty Shane earned his Associates Degree of science in Criminal Justice as well as his Bachelor’s Degree of science in Criminal Justice. Shane returned to the United States in 2009 fighting injuries sustained in combat until he was retired in 2013. Shane retired to Alabama with his wife and daughter where he started his recovery and searching for a new path so he obtained his CDL’s and drove over the road for a few months until he joined the Oxbow family in 2016. Shane loves nature and being outdoors (except when it’s cold outside), but there too are exceptions. Shane enjoys country music, fishing, and anything else he may find that involves being outdoors and yes that would include yard work as well. Shane has a passion for cooking, bird-watching, snakes, and martial arts (huge Bruce Lee Fan) considers himself a Jack of all trades and master of nothing.
Ariel McNeil, Student Assistant
Ariel was born in Florida but spent her early childhood in New York and later moved to Georgia. After graduating high school in 2014 she began her college career at Columbus State University and plans to graduate in 2018 as a psychology major with aspirations to be a child psychologist. While at Oxbow, she loves teaching the public, especially Columbus’s youth, while exploring nature, leading hikes, and collecting bugs. When Ariel is not at Oxbow or attending classes at CSU she can be found reading, drawing, and loving her dogs!
Taylor Aspinwall, Student Assistant
Taylor was born and raised in Brunswick, GA, where she attended Glynn Academy and graduated in 2015. She now attends Columbus State University, and she is a double major in English and History. She aspires to be a high school teacher and an author. She enjoys working hands-on with the youth of Columbus as the Birthday Party Assistant at Oxbow Meadows. Outside of Oxbow and school, Taylor enjoys kayaking, reading, going to plays, volunteering, and working on her bullet journal.
Victoria Neundorder, Student Assistant
Victoria was born and raised in Georgia and moved to Columbus GA in 2015 to attend college at Columbus State University. She is currently working towards her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Art. She joined the Oxbow team in summer of 2016 and loves leading programs, field trips and working with Oxbow’s amazing animals. When she isn’t working on homework Victoria enjoys participating in on campus organizations and working on her many different art projects, as well as spending time with her friends and family.
Brianna Dent, Student Assistant
Brianna Dent is a current Bachelor’s of Science and U-teach student focused on biology. She enjoys teaching and watching students flourish in a learning environment and strives hard to promote critical thinking and inquiry through her programs and lessons. Her hobbies include reading, track and field, and writing. Her role model in life is her grandmother whom is strong and values education in every generation.
Lee Gilford, Student Assistant
Lee was born and raised in Enterprise, Alabama, and moved to Columbus, Georgia right before his senior year of high school. He is currently studying Psychology at Columbus State University with a dream of going into clinical psychology. He started at Oxbow Meadows as a Summer Camp Assistant in 2017 and currently enjoys greeting guests and volunteers every Saturday as part of the team. He enjoys listening to music, leading canopy trails, woodworking, and his second on-campus job as a writing tutor.
Brooke Thomson, Student Assistant
Bio coming soon!