Meet Our Staff
Dr. Michael Dentzau, Ph.D.
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.
Dr. Lauren C. Johnson, Ed.D.
Assistant Director & Program Manager
Lauren Johnson joined the Oxbow Meadows team in 2012. 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. She earned her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum at Columbus State University, Education Specialist degree in Science Education at Florida Institute of Technology, Master of Science in Environmental Education at Nova Southeastern University, and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at LaGrange College. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys hiking with her dogs Shiloh and Penney, crocheting, playing the piano, and exploring the outdoors.
Environmental Educator & Public Programs Specialist
Ashley Herbolich is originally from Pittsburgh, PA but spent most of her adult years in Brooklyn, NY. Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from The New School in New York City. Prior to working at Oxbow, Ashley was a Pre-Kindergarten teacher through Bright from the Start for two years at a NAEYC accredited institution. Ashley was an Environmental Educator for the Wildlife Conservation Society for 5 years at the Prospect Park Zoo in New York City before moving overseas to New Zealand. She is excited to be working with both children and animals again! The mission of Oxbow Meadows aligns very closely with Ashley’s personal mission to strengthen or cultivate the connection that children (and adults) in urban areas feel towards wildlife and wild places through discovery and exploration.
Environmental Educator & Media Specialist
Victoria was born and raised in Georgia and moved to Columbus, GA to pursue her undergraduate degree at Columbus State University (CSU). She graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus in graphic design in 2019 from CSU and is a certified Master Herpetologist. She joined the Oxbow team in the summer of 2016 and loves leading field trips, hikes, and working with our animal ambassadors. When she isn’t working Victoria enjoys spending time with her family, nature journaling, and taking care of her collection of 150+ tropical plants.
Jacob grew up in Ohio where he received a degree in biology from Wright State University in 2017. In 2019 he interned with the Denver Zoo at their Tropical Discovery department while working in the Office of Animal Resources at CU Boulder. As an intern at the Denver Zoo Jacob learned many of the skills he carries into his work at Oxbow Meadows. Jacob started in 2021 and hopes to spend many years caring for and educating the public about the amazing animals we have here.
Ciara was born in Columbus, GA but was raised in Phenix City, AL. From a young age, she showed great interest in reptiles and insects. Instead of bedtime stories, she was read animal encyclopedias as a child. After graduating Central High School in 2014 (go Red Devils!), she attended CVCC to earn her Associate’s Degree in Science. When she’s not watching Criminal Minds or Impractical Jokers, she enjoys taking pictures of her own pet reptiles and catching snakes at Flatrock Park.
Student Assistant & Intern
Sierra is originally from Lakeland, Georgia, and moved to Columbus in 2019 to pursue her undergraduate degree at Columbus State University. She will be graduating with her Bachelors of Science in Biology with a concentration in pre-veterinary studies in 2022. She plans to attend veterinary school after graduation in order to work at a zoo taking care of exotic animals.
Kentucky born and Georgia living, Mary has been in Columbus for about 11 years now. She is finishing her Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts at Columbus State University this Fall. Focusing in photography, Mary has had a passion to photograph the world since she was about 10 years old. When she isn’t running around with a camera, changing her hair color, or stressed about school, you can find her curled up with a book, chilling with friends, going on road trips or playing video games. Mary has a passion for animals and loves to learn new facts about them. Naturally, she has a “pet” moss ball named Mossmo. Before she decided to major in art, Mary wanted to be a teacher for most of her life. She still has a desire to teach, connect, and help others whenever she can.
Student Assistant & Graduate Intern
I am originally from Tucson, AZ and I graduated college with a degree in Zoology. I have interned in Grand Staircase Escalante National monument doing plant and soil surveys. My most recent job was as a field biologist in Oklahoma where I did bird surveys for potential wind farms. I am currently pursuing a Master's in environmental Science from Columbus State and my goal is to work in conservation. On the weekends, I like to go kayaking and camping with my husband!