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.

Russ Shy, BS Field Director

Russ grew up in rural northern Michigan roaming the forests and splashing the waters. This small community instilled many strong values in him that still play a major part in his life. Graduating from Michigan State University with a BS in Natural Resource Recreation he moved westward. After guiding for New Vision Wilderness in the Bend, OR location for two years, he transitioned into a leadership role where he has supported, trained and enjoyed building upon the NVW culture. You can often find Russ in a dress on the slopes, or in the grass without shoes. His motivation now has taken him to Western North Carolina, where he’ll be romping around the trails, mountain biking, and climbing new rocks.


Barrett Wood, BA Operations Manager

Barrett grew up hiking and camping in the Midwest. He graduated from Lake Forest College with a BA in Environmental Studies. While in college, he played rugby and ran cross country. He spent six summers working at a Boy Scout camp as a guide and as a climbing instructor. Barrett has worked as a climbing guide for a private outfitter. He also coached junior high cross country and wrestling. Barrett worked as a restoration ecologist at a conservation agency before joining NVW. Barrett is a Wilderness First Responder and holds numerous climbing certifications. In his free time, Barrett enjoys climbing, snowboarding, running, bird watching, and finding county highpoints.


Carolyn Walton, BS Field Director

Carolyn grew up in Syracuse, NY and graduated with a B.S. from the State University of New York at Cortland. She started her career with New Vision Wilderness as a Field Instructor at our Bend, OR location. Carolyn is consistently amazed by the professional and personal growth she experiences as a team member with NVW. The relationships she’s built with her past and present NVW co-staff, clinicians and leadership has created an unrivaled deep sense of value and community. Ever-inspired by NVW’s humble beginnings, Carolyn passionately strives to expand the number of lives NVW can affect nationwide and takes pride in the ripple effect that is life; continuing to challenge and improve upon herself. In her personal time, Carolyn soaks up her large family as much as possible (love you all!), skis in the trees and enjoys the little things that life has to offer.


Alicia B Wilderness Field Instructor

Alisha holds a Wilderness Therapy certificate from Southwestern Community College where she’s currently in her second year pursing a degree in Outdoor Leadership. Her roots lie in Savannah, GA but she fell in love with the mountains of North Carolina and moved to the Asheville area in 2017. Alisha is a true supporter in the power of nature to promote healing within individuals, which is why she’s so passionate about wilderness therapy. She believes that any change must begin within oneself; striving to uphold the values of compassion, empathy, self-awareness, mindfulness and connection. By holding these values closely, Alisha becomes a better version of herself each day, all the while supporting those who are on their own life journey.


Josh P Wilderness Field Instructor

Josh grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina where he fell in love with nature and the outdoors. He studied Geology at Appalachian State University where he graduated in 2011. Since college, he’s worked at the Environmental Protection Agency, taught high school science and worked in wilderness therapy. Josh has spent 5 months hiking on the Appalachian Trail, road-tripped the U.S. multiple times and spent 22 days rafting through the Grand Canyon. He enjoys practicing yoga, working on cars, cooking, learning, dancing, singing, adventuring and just about anything else that gets him outside. To Josh, North Carolina is the most wonderful and beautiful state in this country; from the mountains to the sea and everything in between.


Steven R Wilderness Field Instructor

Once upon a time, in a small town nestled near the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, a curious kid wandered off into the woods behind his home to seek adventure. This is the moment that sparked a lifelong passion for the wilderness with Steven. And as Steven grew up, he explored many outdoor meccas; finding his refuge in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking and backpacking have become disciplines he pushes to master. Through wilderness therapy, he’s able to combine his passion for the outdoors with his passion for teaching by helping others be the best versions of themselves.


Cassie H, MA Wilderness Field Instructor

Cassie attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she earned her B.S. in Sports and Exercise Science and her M.A. in Sports Administration while playing outfield on the women’s varsity softball team. Cassie is at her happiest when she’s in the great outdoors and she’s passionate about helping others. In her free time, you can find her perusing bookstores, painting a masterpiece, in kickboxing class, on the softball field, eating dairy free ice cream and chasing happy.


Tommy L, BS Wilderness Field Instructor

Soon after his graduation from Western Illinois University with a degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration, with a minor in Outdoor Leadership, Tommy decided that he needed to pursue his dream of working in the wilderness while helping people at the same time. He brings a vast and impressive accumulation of fourteen-hundred hours in the backcountry and wilderness survival experience to NVW and is elated to call North Carolina his home. As a new father, Tommy spends most of his free time with his family; hiking, growing vegetables, taking care of his chickens and exploring the world for the first time, again.


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