ASIW banner

In nature’s classroom, children ages 6 to 18 are able to learn and have fun in a beautiful setting. Over the course of five days they will be taught the arts & sciences by inspiring artists, engineers, archeologists, scientists, survival skills instructors and more all while taking in the natural beauty of the outdoors. On the final day, family, friends & the community are invited to the Sun Foundation to celebrate their week of sharing & learning.

 Classes offered will be announced in Feb 2015

We are still accepting donations for scholarships to enable financial needs students to attend Art and Science in the Woods. Any amount you can give will help provide these students the opportunity to experience this special program–thank you so much for your support!

Click the button to donate to the Sun Foundation using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or PayPal.

You will be transferred to the PayPal site, and from there you can enter the amount you wish to donate, and then either sign into your PayPal account (if you have one), or click on “continue” underneath “Don’t have a PayPal account?” to donate using a credit card.

Please put “ASIW scholarship” in the “Notes” section at the end.

You will receive a receipt after the payment is processed that you can print to document your donation for tax purposes.


Who Can Attend?
Everyone in moderate physical condition can enjoy being at ASIW.  It’s for ages 6 through adult.
When & Where?

June 8th through June 12th, 2015
ASIW is a five day program held Monday through Friday in June. Classes run from 9 am to 3 pm daily, RAIN OR SHINE at the Sun Foundation Center 25 miles north of Peoria. Sun Foundation Center is 9 miles South of Lacon & 2.5 miles East of IL Route 26. A sign on Route 26 marks the turn off.  See here for a MAP.
The Sun Foundation owns no land or facility. The Sun Foundation Center and Art & Science in the Woods are located on the property of Joan, Brett & Bob Ericksen – Blue Heron Farm, and neighboring farms.
How It Works
Mornings & all day Friday are devoted to in-depth study of one subject, called your Major. On Friday afternoon, you will share your learning with the rest of the group.
Monday through Thursday afternoons you will have a chance to do something different each day & learn a little bit about the topics that interest you. Afternoon classes are called Minors.

Lunch & Snacks
We recommend healthy, low sugar, nutritious lunch & snacks for AM & PM that won’t need refrigeration and a water bottle. Please, no Lunchables.

Bring & Wear
Wear comfortable clothing that can get soiled, wet, and painted. Long pants and long sleeved shirts are best for protection from plants & insects, and are required in some
classes. For comfort and safety, do not wear sandals. Flies & mosquitoes will not be as annoying if you wear socks, and hiking and exploring will be easier in shoes that tie.
Bring a cap, backpack and non-toxic, non-aerosol bug repellent, such as Avon Skin So Soft.

Financial Need Scholarships
A limited number of scholarships are available through the generosity of Sun Foundation members & community businesses for students with verifiable financial
need. Need can be verified by teachers, scout leaders, church leaders or any adult or parent who knows of a childs interest in ASIW but is unable to attend because of financial considerations. Students should fill out the registration form & send it with a note or recommendation.

Adults who are interested in attending may call or write on their own behalf.

ASIW would not be possible without volunteers: they SHINE. We need teaching assistants, evaluators, nurses, & people to help with various duties before, during &
after ASIW.  Adult teaching assistant volunteers receive a $50 deduction for one of their children and a free limited edition, ASIW t-shirt. A limited number of teen
volunteers ages 15 and up are needed. Contact Sharon Obery, 309-251-2819 or email to get information about volunteering.

Our students come from many central Illinois communities. Bus service may be provided from Peoria, Metamora, & Germantown Hills. We can also share contact information for carpooling with your permission.

Please indicate interest in either of these options where indicated on the registration form.

First Aid & Insurance
Health forms should be sent in with registration forms. A nurse and/or a resident EMT will administer minor first aid. In the event serious medical attention is needed,
the emergency number listed on your registration form will be called. Please be sure to give a number for a responsible party. The Sun Foundation does not provide
insurance for coverage of medical expenses.

Please advise us when you register if the student has special needs.

NOTE: Parents may attend the same class with their student at no charge, but materials can only be provided to those actually registered for the class.

Friday Evening-Come Celebrate with us

Family, friends & the community are invited to the Sun Foundation Center on the Friday ending Art and Science in the Woods week to celebrate our week of sharing & learning. Bring a picnic dinner (blanket
or lawn chairs are a good idea) & enjoy music in the woods from 5 to 6 PM. At 6:00 classes will begin exhibits, demonstrations, and performances that exemplify the
work they have concentrated on during the week. With written permission from a responsible adult, students may remain at the Sun Foundation Friday Only, and be
picked up by parents at 5 on Friday. During this time special activities will be provided.
Friday Silent Auction to Benefit Art & Science in the Woods
Bidding from 9 am to 5:45 pm on Friday. The Auction is held in the Sun Foundation Center. Auction pieces are displayed in the pavilion & are marked for
silent bidding. Works by artists and scientists, students, & friends of the Sun Foundation are available for purchase.
The Auction results are announced at 6 pm outside the pavilion.

Lost & Found Policy
Check the Pavilion Lost & Found Box each day. Items will be held following the program for up to 2 weeks and then donated to the Goodwill.


Daily Schedule

8:30 – 8:45 Registration for Monday only
8:45 to 9:00 Morning Major class grouping at pavilion
9 to 11:45 Major Class (Everyday)
11:45 to 12:15 Lunch with Major class (Everyday)
12:15 to 12:30 Minor class grouping at pavilion
12:30 – 3:00 Minor class (Different class each afternoon, Mon. thru Thurs.-Friday afternoon is spent with Major class)

“Friday Celebration Schedule”
For families, friends, & the public

9 AM to 6 PM Silent Auction bidding in the Pavilion
3 to 5 PM Student activities for students staying for the evening program

“Responsible adults” must pick-up students at Sun Foundation Pavilion no
later than 5 PM

5 to 6 PM Picnic and Silent Auction

6 PM Performances & Exhibits & Auction results


Contributions & Sponsorships Received as of January 1, 2014

Program Sponsors
Blue Heron Farm
Bob, Joan and Brett Ericksen
Caterpillar Foundation
Community Foundation of Central Illinois
David Trachtenbarg & Joyce Blumenshine
Dick Blick
Dixons Fisheries
Drop Zone
Illinois Arts Council a state agency
Integrated Marketing
James Porter
John & Kimberly Salmon
Kelly Sauder Rupiper Equip
Kelly, Sauder And Ruppier
Lacon Subway
Meta Tec
Meta Tec, Inc.
Morton Dental Center
Muir Omni Graphics
Naturally Yours
Nick and Willy’s Pizza
Olive Garden
Root Brothers Manuf. and Supply Co.
Sharon Obery

Class Sponsors
Apace Architects
Bob and Joan Ericksen
Bushwacker Ltd
David & Rita Ann Suffern
Dr. Dina Lunken, D.D.S., P.C.
Essential Wellness
Germantown Hills Animal Hospital
Illinois American Water
Jim & Mary Morrissette
Presley’s Outdoors LLC
Rita Ann Suffern
Roger & Jane Gabrielse

1/2 Class Sponsors
Bill & Barb Lervaag
Daniel Angot & Teresa Lewis
Dr. Kim Wickwire
Greet Princen
Gregg’s Florist
Jay & Mary Jo Rowley
Jeff & Rosanne Nau
Midwest Materials

FINANCIAL NEED Scholarship Sponsors

Born Paint Company
Community Foundation of Central Illinois Women’s Fund
Daniel & Kathy Coyle
ExxonMobil Environmental Services
Laure J. Adams
Marlene Miller
Peoria Academy of Science
Ruby K. Worner Trust/PNC
Charitable Trust Grant
Stan & Willa Ulrich

Program Supporters
Alan & Debra Stockner
Bill & Lisa Koenig
Bill, Debbie, Katie & Maddie Pierce
Butch & Sharon McClellan
Connie Randall
Dave Holloway
Donald W. & Debera E. White
Erin Morse
Eugene Holmes
Heartland Bank & Trust Company
J. Roger & Donna Weber
Jennifer & Jason Hunt
Jennifer Dommick
John & Tamara Howerton
Kim’s Academy of Dance, Inc.
Leeway Ceramic Tile, Inc.
Linda Gehrig
Marlene Miller
Martin Brothers Equipment
Mary Jean Bowman
Midwest Firearms Company, Inc.
Mike & Lori Gudat
Peter Alahi & Susannah Dintzie
Rebecca & Gene Doubleday
Steve & Gwen Krause
Steven & Nancy Jones
Tom & Shair Malson
Wenona Health Center
Wenona Junior Woman’s Club
William & Bonnie Claudnic
Zobrist/Scheirer Insurance Agency

Art & Science in the Woods Staff

Program Coordinator……………Sharon Obery
Development Director…. Joan Root Ericksen
Executive Assistants ………………. Katy Watson, Danielle Kreie
Technical Coordinators ………. Jason Bowling, Will Crotz

Assistant Coordinators ………… Shari Malson, Libby Verkuilen
Artistic Director……………………..Bob Ericksen
Site/Program Dir./Naturalist..Brett Root Ericksen

 Art & Science in the Woods Instructors 2014 (2015 Instructors to be Announced Feb 2015)

Sharon Bladholm

Sharon has pursued her singular vision with a variety of disciplines, including cast glass, bronze, and ceramic 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. She is currently
working on a sculptural “Tree of Life” that will honor the profound contributions of Carl Woese to the scientific Universal Tree of Life based on his groundbreaking work with Archaea.

Tom Brown III

Tom has been a practitioner and teacher of primitive technology, tracking and nature observation since he has been able to walk. He has been trained by his father, Tom Brown Jr., founder of the world-renowned Tracker School. He taught at the Tracker School between 2003 and 2009. He now combines his naturalist and life experiences at his own school in the Cincinnati area and travels the world seeking to educate people in the ways of our ancestors and passing down the skills that were at the forefront of their lives.

Douglas DePauw

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

Chad Dunn

A multi-percussionist, educator and instrument maker, Chad received his certificate of
training at Oficina de Investigacao Musical in Salvador, Bahia Brazil. He is in the tradition
of musicians around the world who customize and design their own instruments to suit
their individual playing style. His instrument endorsees have worked with Sting, Paul Simon,
Yo-Yo Ma and Vinx to name a few. As a performer/educator Chad is in considerable demand.
Numerous lectures and workshops on Brazilian percussion for public and private schools
through out North American, an Illinois Arts Council Arts Tour artist since 2001, and Sun
Foundation staff instructor since 1997. In addition to local and regional guest performances,
Chad continues his cultural studies with djembefola Mousa Bolokada Konde.
For more info –

Ella Brown Dunn

Ella Brown Dunn is a graduate of the University of Illinois Fine Arts Department. She has spent the last 16 years teaching artists of all ages, assisting in gallery exhibits as well as showing 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 Illinois. She currently heads the Fine Arts Department for Next Generation Primary School in Champaign, IL, sharing her love of all kinds of art with students from K-8. Mrs. Dunn resides in Champaign with her husband Chad and their daughter Zoe.

Sue Fischbach

Sue graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Special Education. Recently she went back to school and received a certificate in Sign Language Interpreting from Illinois Central College. Sue is a Mom, Girl Scout leader and science lover. She is currently working at PSD150 as a Sign Language Interpreter.


Dan Fitzpatrick

For the past 10 years Dan has taught Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Anatomy, Enviromental Science, Ariculture and Agricultural science at La Moille High School. 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 Loredo Taft field campus as part of the outdoor education masters program, is a master naturalist for the University of Illinois, and is part of Tom Brown Jr’s tracker school apprentice program.

Merrill Foster

Ph.D. Harvard University. Dr. Foster is a professor who discusses his subject as enthusiastically with an 8 year old as with his college students. Dr. Foster’s classes are always popular and fill up fast. He is a professor of Geology at
Bradley University.

Shelley Fritz

BS, MS Ed, ISU. Shelly taught science and writing for ten years in her capacity as special education teacher and was teacher/director of her district’s gifted & talented program. She has taught preschool science classes locally, as well as education courses at ICC & Bradley. Shelley is now Student Assistance Coordinator at Peoria Christian School, and regularly volunteers to teach art and science lesons in elementary classrooms.

Ann Hagemann

Ann is a professional actress who shares her time between the Central IL area, Chicago, and LA. Her favorite stage roles include Peter in “Peter Pan”, Eliza in “My Fair Lady” and Narrator in “Joseph . . .Dreamcoat.” She can be seen in many commercials and independent films; Feature Films to be released in 2014 include : Dearest Jane”, “When the Lights Go Out” and “Jenny’s Wedding” with Katherine Heigl. Ann trained at the Actors Center, Edgecliff, ISU, Bradley and Chicago Shakespeare. See her on imdb.

Douglas Holmes

AA, Illinois Central College. Doug has been a herpetologist on staff at the Peoria Zoo for the last 27 years and a Sun Foundation instructor for over 30 years. Currently he is the 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.

Katie Kauzlarich

Katie is a naturalist at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights. She has her B.A. in
biology from Augustana College and her certificate in Zoo and Aquarian studies from
Western Illinois. At Forest Park Nature Center Katie has the opportunity to share her love of
wild animals with the public.

Mike Kershnar

Mike grew up in the Southern California world of skateboarding, surfing, graffiti, and
primitive skills. He has done 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 of the Grateful Dead, and the Beastie Boys. His favorite artists include Robert Crumb,
Keith Haring and Basquiat.

Oba William King
“The Poetic Storyteller”. Oba is a favored & passionate presenter at educational, community and church events throughout the Midwest. Oba’s rich history includes a stint as a touring presenter for National Public Library, Bermuda Island; “Breaking Chains” a one-man show at Beatrice Community College in Nebraska; and an award nomination for the lead role in Dracula at Lifeline Theatre in Chicago. Oba encourages students to make positive choices to build self image, self esteem and communication skills. He shares the traditional art form of Storytelling as if it were a sacred gift. Oba is an alumnus of Western
Stage Conservatory for Theater Arts in Salinas, CA. Learn more about Oba @

Kathy Knapp

Kathy received her BSN from Illinois Wesleyan University. She has taught origami to people of all ages for over 25 years at libraries, schools, museums and an art gallery and with private students. Five years ago she founded Origami Peoria Area. She is currently a master trainer for Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, makes banners for her church, and is a member of Origami USA and the British Origami Society. Kathy is the 2010 recipient of the Ranana Benjamin teaching award from Origami USA. She has been part of a juried World Origami program for children. Kathy is a long time volunteer and supporter of the Sun Foundation.

Lindsey Larson

B.S. in Education from Northern Illinois University and M.A. in Reading from St. Xavier University. Lindsey is a community theatre enthusiast, and has recently assisted with costumes for several of Eastlight Theatere’s productions. She previously worked with Children’s Community Theatre of DeKalb as an assistant director, camp teacher, costumer, and has appeared onstage in several of their productions. Lindsey is currently a Reading Specialist at Metamora Grade School.
Yona Lunken

Yona is a professional teacher and fundraiser. He has been teaching in various capacities all of his life. Lately he is teaching Hebrew & Prophets at Hebrew Day School and Entrepreneurialism at Bradley University. He is head fundraiser for Peoria Hebrew Day School and Bradley Hillel. In his spare time Yona works on solar energy projects for his home and acts silly with his three children.

Adam Maas

Adam has taught in the Peoria area over the last 10 years, both at the CAC of Peoria and Lakeview Museum. He keeps a painting studio in downtown Peoria in the CAC. His degree is from Illinois State University and he was mentored by Preston Jackson and Jere Allen. Currently he is the IT director for a school in the northern part of the state while teaching and practicing painting on the weekends.

Kimberly McCord-Truninger

Kimberly has experience in teaching daycare and Jr. High science and health classes. When her children were born she began in-home child care. She says her house is always filled with children and she organizes events at her home such as “leaf parties, game nights and an annual food fight!”

Tom McElroy

Tom has spent the greater part of his adult life studying indigenous/hunter-gatherer cultures and teaching these skills to a myriad of students throughout the country. During his early 20’s he was an instructor at the world-renowned Tracker School, from there he went on to obtain a double major from Rutgers University in Anthropology and Geography. Currently, he is pursuing a Masters degree in Policy and Human Rights of Indigenous cultures while also traveling to remote areas, learning from isolated tribal groups. Tom is an avid surfer, climber, potter, photographer, wilderness survivalist and tracker.

Jim Morrissette

BA, University of Illinois. Jim has extensive experience as both a
professional videographer & technical consultant. He was the principal
videographer on the highly acclaimed Frontline documentary “The
Farmer’s Wife” and “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the
American City”. Currently he is the Technical Director of Kartemquin
Films in Chicago and teaches Digital Cinematography at Columbia
College. Jim is a 36 year veteran of Art & Science in the Woods.

Heidi Smith Parker

Heidi is a central Illinois native and grew up in Pontiac. She has a
B.S. from the University of Illinois in Animal Science and a PHD from
Columbia University in Biological Sciences. She is currently a postdoctoral
research scientist at the University of TExas at Austin studying the
relationship between genes and behavior in frogs and salamanders.
Frogs, toads and weird salamanders that live in mud are pretty much her
favorite things and she will happily convince you of their awesomeness.

Joe Parker

Growing up in Swansea(Wales, UK), Joe became obsessed with insects at age 7. He obtained a B.S. in Zoology from Imperial College, London, and a PHD from the University of Cambridge, UK. Currently he is a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University, NYC, where he studies the genetic control of insect development, and the evolutionary relationships of his favorite group of beetles. He is eager to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with anyone prepared to listen.
Tim Presley

Tim says he likes to fish, fish, fish! He has fished all his life and deeply loves the sport. He sells fish bait for a living and talks fish every day of his life. He loves to share his expertise with folks young and old.

Paul Ritter

Paul says teaching is his life, not just a job. He has a passion for education and the environment that touches every aspect of his life, as well as his students. He has received many accolades for his interdisciplinary projects including 11 major awards from 3 different governors of Illinois. In 2012, Paul was named the National Environmental Science Teacher of the Year, and his Prescription
Pill and Drug Disposal Program named the number one student environmental program in the U>S and number three program in the world. He dedicates his life to teaching others the importance of finding a passion and sharing it with others.

Lorraine Schwass

Lorraine worked as a school counselor for 35 years and is currently working at Peoria Notre Dame High School. She learned to make jewelry for fun and to be creative. Lorraine is currently the President of the Sun Foundation Board of Directors.

Wayne Talbot

A graduate in environmental science, Wayne has experience in the creation and funding of public and
community mass participation projects. After graduation, he worked to develop partnerships between
academic, commercial & voluntary organizations as the national Education Officer for Wildlife Watch before working on UN projects. He established WTA Education Service in 1997 with Janet Sackman. He is an experienced facilitator, trainer, author and program builder. He has most recently been working with the United Nations Environment Program investigating how to strengthen young peoples participation in UN sustainability initiatives in Europe.

Michael Wiant

Michael is the Director of the Illinois State Museum – Dickson Mounds. He received a Ph.D. from
Northwestern University in anthropology. An archaeologist, Wiant has for more than 40 years explored the
long history of Native Americans in the Illinois River basin. He shares his insights on the subject through
public lectures, teaching and publication. His research interests range from stone tool technology to changes in the landscape of Illinois.
Travis Wilcoxen
Dr. Travis Wilcoxen is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois. Travis is also the Chair of the Zoology Division of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences. He studies the interaction of ecology, physiology and behavior of birds and amphibians. His current research features local Illinois species and studying the effects of human-provided bird seed on the health of wild birds. Travis is originally from Lewiston, IL and is a Eureka College graduate. He and his wife Jessa now reside in Pana IL.

Guest Artist

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.