Meet the Zoo Camp Leadership Staff:

The Brookfield Zoo Camp staff take pride in their ability to foster an environment that celebrates animals and nature. Our camp leadership staff and counselor team are chosen for their experience in creating an environment that is fun, educational, and inclusive. When your child leaves camp, they will have gained a deeper connection to wild things and wild places, and will have built rewarding friendships along the way. The Brookfield Zoo Camp staff are dedicated to ensuring all campers are able to reach their fullest potential, regardless of ability. Come meet some of Zoo Camp’s leadership staff:

Dave Becker, Senior Manager of Learning Experiences Dave Becker, Senior Manager of Learning Experiences

Dave Becker has led the Chicago Zoological Society's early childhood initiative since 2001 and has specialized in children and family learning in informal environments for nearly 20 years.

Jill Damato, Manager, NatureStart Programs Jill Damato, Manager, NatureStart Programs

Jill’s career as a zoo educator was sparked by an internship with Brookfield Zoo’s education department that eventually led to full-time work. Having been with the Hamill Family Play Zoo exhibit since it opened has afforded her opportunities to be a part of connecting families with wildlife and nature while directly supporting zoo initiatives related to early childhood education, and inclusion and accessibility. When not at the zoo or doing work towards the completion of her M.A. in Biology you’ll likely find her catch-riding whichever friends’ horse she can, creating miniature gardens, and stumbling upon random and cool animal facts on social media.

Jon Meisenbach, Camp Supervisor Jon Meisenbach, Camp Supervisor

After spending 5 years as a zoo educator in Florida, Jon made a happy return home to Illinois, working for another 5 years at several prominent Chicago cultural institutions before landing at Brookfield Zoo in 2016. With a M.S. in Natural Resources/Environmental Science and experience as a science educator and communicator, he has a passion for getting kids excited about science, wildlife, and conservation. He knows the importance of having the opportunity to have hands-on learning experiences ranging from headstarting caterpillars to making slime. 2020 will be Jon’s fourth summer of Zoo Camp. In his free time, you’ll find Jon running obscene distances, watching the Twilight Zone, and tweeting about crocodiles.

Sam Jackson, Lead CounselorSam Jackson, Lead Counselor

Sam is a graduate from the University of Miami with degrees in Marine Science and Biology. She specializes in marine life education, but loves to share her knowledge of all kinds of animals with the campers. Sam has over six years of combined informal education and camp experience. She is very passionate about inspiring conservation initiatives through active learning. When not at the zoo, Sam can likely be found outside either at the pool or reading a book.

Taylor Richier, Camp Inclusion SpecialistTaylor Richier, Camp Inclusion Specialist

The Zoo Camp leadership team includes our Inclusion Specialist who coordinates support for campers with disabilities, including but not limited to physical disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, ADHD, and emotional disabilities.Taylor has a degree in Rehabilitation and Disability Services from Northern Illinois University. This will be his fourth year with Zoo Camp and he brings over nine years of experience working with individuals with disabilities in a variety of settings, including therapeutic recreation, Special Olympics, inclusion programs, and special education classrooms. He has worked with individuals ages 3 to 55. In his free time, he enjoys art, music, and learning about science. 

Cory Wilcox, Customer Service RepresentativeCory Wilcox, Customer Service Representative

If you've ever e-mailed or called our office, you've probably spoken with Cory before! With a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Biology, Cory brings business and nature together everyday. During her 9 years at Brookfield Zoo, Cory has worked in a variety of capacities including in the Membership and Merchandise departments. In her free time, Cory enjoys raising Monarch butterflies, traveling, and re-creating Pinterest crafts. Bringing her customer service skills to the Camp team in 2013, Cory's job is to maintain all of the registrations for Zoo Camp as well as many of our other classes and programs. Cory also provides office support to the rest of the Zoo Camp team. Most of her work takes place behind the scenes, but you can always find her on Monday mornings during Camp season at the Zoo Camp merchandise table. If you ever have a question about Zoo Camp, she's here to help! You can reach her on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 708-688-8342 or by email at

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Cancellation and Refund Policy

We are proudly accredited by the American Camp Association, the only accreditation organization for camps in North America. The Association is recognized for its standards for camp health, safety, and programming. The organization partners with the American Red Cross and the American Academy of Pediatrics to ensure that camp practices are current and high quality. We believe in inclusion and welcome campers of all abilities. Only 7% of ACA-accredited camps provide an inclusive setting that allows participants with and without disabilities to enjoy the experience together. We are proud to be one of them.