Zac Wedemeyer is the main Taproot Leader. A life-long student and admirer of nature, Zac taught elementary school in Iowa City for six years before launching Taproot. He has also taught at the University of Iowa Wildlife Camps and School of the Wild, and at Centaur Stables Pony Camp. Zac loves exploring, prairie burning, hunting, fishing, shepherding, gardening, and being dad to his two young daughters and son.
Kristin Bergman began her work teaching people to be safe and comfortable in nature as a swim instructor in her teens. She simultaneously studied the craft of storytelling and expedition outfitting while obtaining a BA in theatre arts at University of Iowa. She completed an Outdoor Educator course with NOLS in 1993. She taught English in Ladakh, India and positive parenting skills in Moab, Utah. She continues to combine environmental activism with consciousness education as a doula, massage therapist, and faculty member at East West School of Integrative Healing Arts. She enjoys telemark skiing, stargazing, and gardening with her two kids.
Jan McDonald grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of General Studies and obtained a Master Conservationist certificate through the Johnson County Conservation Board. Jan also works for the Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department. She loves to explore, fly-fish, hunt for wild mushrooms, flora, and fauna and is passionate about the environment and conservation.
Laura Max grew up in North Carolina, and as a child enjoyed hiking and rock-collecting with her father. She spent more time exploring the woods and creek behind her house than she did inside the house. She earned a biology degree from Wartburg College, and a Masters of Science Education from the University of Iowa. She has been a science teacher at Tipton High School and has taught at the University of Iowa Wildlife Camps and Camp Courageous. She loves spending time outdoors with her husband Todd, two sons Parker and Quentin, and cocker spaniel, Echo.
Barbara Schelar grew up on the edge of Davenport near a creek with miles of woods and farmland beyond it. Many hours of her childhood were spent exploring: watching the muskrats, catching crawdads, picking berries, and climbing trees. Her family vacations were always camping trips involving hiking woods and mountains throughout the west. As an adult, she lived and raised her children in the country near Solon. Barbara studied elementary education and psychology at the University of Iowa, and received a Masters in Education from the University of North Dakota. She taught for 30 years at Willowwind School in Iowa City, where she built much of the curriculum around nature studies encouraging children to become adept observers, questioners, theory-makers and testers about their world. Barbara loves making music with friends, gardening, practicing Shiatsu and Healing Touch, tutoring children, and exploring the Meaning of Life with her husband Russell, two daughters, and her cat.