The Field Team includes outdoor experts with an array of professional and personal experience. Wilderness specialists bring expertise in safety, compassion for struggling youth, enthusiasm for utilizing the outdoors as a catalyst for positive change, and are the core of the team. They frequently bring creative use of natural resources to individualized interventions.
Dan Plaisance, BA
Dan Plaisance graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Prior to his work in Wilderness Therapy Dan did three terms in Americorps building trails and living and working in a group setting in Alaska, Colorado and Texas. He also spent 9 months living in Tanzania teaching high school math. Dan has been involved in the Wilderness Therapy Industry for over 4 years. He started as a Field Instructor in our North Woods program and now resides as our Field Director in our West Coast Office. Dan believes in the power of the Wilderness; to inspire change, and loves the relationships that he has formed with both the clients and the staff. When he is not working Dan loves to be in the woods. He hikes, kayaks, canoes, hunts, fishes and enjoys time with friends and family around a campfire.
Michael Emanuel, BS
Assistant Field Director
Michael graduated from the University of Connecticut with degrees in Resource Economics and English Literature. He has lived and worked in six states, traveled through 43 states and 14 countries, and is excited to now call Central Oregon home. For the past 12 years, Michael has worked with at risk youth and adults in settings ranging from special education boarding schools to universities. Michael holds a Wilderness First Responder certificate, and is an avid outdoors person. Michael believes in the healing and restorative properties of being in the wilderness, and enjoys working with youth in outdoors settings. When he’s not at work, you can find Michael on his bike, out snowshoeing, hiking through the Oregon wilds, or fishing along the Pacific Northwest rivers.
Rachel Grimm, B.S.
Rachel graduated from UW Milwaukee with a degree in Community Education and a focus on therapeutic work. During college, she was also a full time athlete on the diving team. For the past five years, Rachel has worked with many children with disabilities as a line therapist for kids with autism and also as a volunteer for special education classrooms and horse therapy programs. Rachel took courses with her dog to achieve therapy dog certification. They visited nursing homes to help raise the spirits of those who need it most. Rachel is excited to be continuing her journey here at NVW and in her free time, she enjoys fishing, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, and going to the movies.
Russ S, BS
Russ Shy graduated from Michigan State University in 2010 with a degree of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism. He is a First Aid and CPR certified as well as AASI level 1 ski and snowboard certified. Russ is well-traveled and has spent time in Mexico, Central Oregon, Canada, Fiji, and most recently New Zealand. And avid recreationalist, on his off shifts you may find Russ skiing, snowboarding, climbing, biking, surfing, or fishing. His goal is to climb the five highest peaks in the Northern Cascade Region.
Steve was raised in Michigan and attended college along the icy shores of Lake Superior at Northern Michigan University. He graduated with honors and a degree in Earth Science Secondary Education, accompanied with minors in Biology Secondary Education and Music. Among many other things, he was the president of an adventure club, rescue diver and dive master for university scuba courses, and a camp counselor for NMU’s summer camp programming. Steve’s involvement with Northern Michigan University and the Marquette community led to his nomination as NMU’s Outstanding Graduating Senior 2014. After teaching and backpacking in New Zealand, Steve moved to the Pacific Northwest in search for new mountain bike trails, rock climbing routes, and fresh snow. Once joining the New Vision Wilderness west coast team, Steve worked a summer season as a Wilderness Instructor before transitioning into the roles of Education Specialist and Director of Community Integration and Adventure. Steve currently carries teaching licenses in Michigan and Oregon, as well as an irrefutable enthusiasm towards working with adolescents and young adults in the wilderness.
Laura Murphy, B.A., B.S., 200hr RYT, 40hr TCTSY
TCTSY Yoga Facilitator, Administrative Assistant
Laura serves as New Vision Wilderness West Coast’s Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator, as well as Administrative Support Staff. She received dual degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Dance and Conservation Biology, and is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. During her 10 years as a professional dancer, she helped to create and perform over 30 original works with Wild Space Dance Co., specializing in site-specific work, performing in parking garages, underneath bridges, off the sides of old industrial chimneys, on sailboats, in rivers, museums, parks, breweries, as well as traditional stages. She also performed internationally with the Warszawski Teatr Tanca, out of Warsaw PL, touring Poland and Japan. Laura served as an Artist-in-Residence at Lawrence University, teaching Ballet, Modern Dance, and Movement Fundamentals and also started several of her own yoga classes, teaching in parks and backyards along Lake Michigan. She has also worked in Yosemite National Park as a Backcountry Ranger and as a Canoe Outfitter in the BWCA. She feels that she has successfully combined many of these interests here at NVW through TCTSY.
Krystin N, A.A.
Krystin grew up in Central Oregon and spent the last few years pursuing a degree in tourism and outdoor leadership. In her spare time she does a lot of backpacking, fishing, swimming and spending time with family and friends. Before coming to new vision wilderness, she volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in the children and teens programs. She also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification.
Andrew B, BS
Andrew graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013. He studied people and the planet and holds a BS in Globalization, the Environment, and Policy. He also completed over 600 hours of skills and leadership training in the University's Outdoor Pursuits Leadership Training Program and taught Outdoor Pursuits courses ranging from basic backpacking, navigation and backcountry survival, to swift water safety, snow camping and avalanche safety. Andrew first earned his Wilderness First Responder in 2013 and is CPR certified. He loves to travel often with hopes of experiencing new cultures, listening to live music, and climbing mountains in search of secluded lakes amidst the conifers!
Sarah S, BS
Sarah graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in International Eco-tourism and Outdoor Leadership. She also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification and is trained in CPR. Sarah was born and raised in the woods of Michigan where, at an early age, she discovered her passion for adventure and playing in nature. Since her first job at age 15 as a ski instructor, she has continued working with people in the outdoors as a snowboard coach, raft guide, mountain bike coach, challenge course instructor, and student adventure trip leader through her college program. Sarah believes in the natural healing power of the wilderness and loves to be a part of a community inspired to change which has led her into the field of wilderness therapy.
Who's got four years guiding experience,
two thumbs, and a college degree? This Guy! While studying philosophy at Azusa Pacific University, Jeff also completed a year long outdoor leadership program. This marked the beginning of his personal and professional endeavors into the world of outdoors. After graduating two years later with the Outstanding Senior Award, Jeff spent the next two years guiding and traveling the country rock climbing. Feeling satisfied having completed a number of difficult one-day ascents on Yosemite's granite big walls, Jeff
decided it was time to settle down for a little while to do something else he cared deeply about--wilderness therapy!
Carolyn M, BA
Carolyn Munro graduated from University of Portland with a degree in English Literature, and pursued additional classes in animal science, healthcare, and psychology. As a child, Carolyn moved a total of eight times before finding home in beautiful Portland Oregon. Before coming to New Vision Wilderness, Carolyn was a biology teaching assistant, wolf caretaker, and multicultural research assistant. Carolyn values the opportunity to work for a company that line with her morals and her vocation to work with young people with trauma. When Carolyn is not in the field she can be found exploring Bend, encountering animals or endeavoring in artistic pursuits.