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.

Ben Koch, MSc Field Director

Ben’s interest in working and teaching outdoors began while studying at the the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his undergraduate years, he became involved with the Hoofers Outing club and spent his summers in the outdoors, first working with young kids at local summer camps and then leading international trips for high schoolers in Fiji, Switzerland and Tanzania. After graduating with a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, he decided to follow his passion for working with kids in the outdoors full-time, working as an outdoor education instructor for school programs and then returning to school to get a MSc in Outdoor Education, as well as getting certified as a Wilderness First Responder. Now, Ben wants to use his knowledge and experiences to help others reconnect to nature and better understand our dependence on the world around us. In his free time, Ben is an avid backpacker who has hiked the entire west coast of Scotland, the Haute route in Switzerland, and Mt. Kilimanjaro. He also enjoys other outdoor pursuits, including skiing, kayaking and climbing, and when the weather turns ugly, he also loves to cook, play board games with friends, or read a good book by a fire.

David Puhl, B.S. Academic and Adventure Education Specialist

David studied Wildlife Ecology and German at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. After graduating David spent two years in West Africa with Peace Corps Senegal; as an Environmental Education volunteer he spent much of his time working with local teachers on techniques to adjust their lesson plans to make subjects more applicable to the students’ lives. He also helped with the annual regional youth leadership camp, and in his second year acted as the lead coordinator and liaison between Peace Corps and local volunteers on the project. David enjoys spending time in nature and has a passion for encouraging that in others. In the winter cross country skiing is one of his favorite ways to spend time outdoors, David is also trying to find more time to climb and enjoys spending time on his bicycles when possible.

Emily Fritz, B.S., M.S., CTRS Program Coordinator

Emily is an Iowa native that now calls the north woods of Wisconsin home. As an undergrad, Emily double majored in exercise science and human performance and fitness, then went on to pursue her masters in recreation, park and tourism administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. Emily fell in love with working outside during graduate school, while she managed a high ropes course and climbing tower. Emily's graduate course work also led her on a variety of other adventures including backpacking and sea kayaking. After completing her internship in a hospital setting at an inpatient psychiatric unit, Emily knew she needed to get back outside. New Vision Wilderness was the perfect fit for working with the population she loved and being outside. Emily is now a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and is excited to share her knowledge with the kids in the woods. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading, rock climbing, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Rachel Grimm, BS Canine Coordinator

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.

Winona Hapgood, B.S. Field Specialist

Winona grew up camping and hiking in Maine. She graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science in Exercise Physiology and a bachelor of arts in Hispanic Studies. During college she was a member of the club field hockey team and participated in a white water kayaking trip with the university adventure club. She worked as a Resident Advisor for three semesters before taking a semester abroad in Ecuador to improve her Spanish speaking skills. While in Ecuador she joined the mountaineering class and took bi-weekly backpacking trips where she experienced the mountains and jungles of the country as well as the Galapagos Islands. As a student she worked with kids as a mentor in a research program that was designed to show that a one-on-one mentoring program increased weight loss in overweight adolescents. She is excited to work for New Vision Wilderness because it combines her passion for the outdoors and her desire to help people. During her free time she enjoys skiing, running, hiking, and reading.

Zoe Bertz, B.S. Field Specialist

Zoe was born and raised in Wisconsin. She earned a B.S. degree in Psychology and an Art Minor from Edgewood College. Zoe’s passion for the outdoors comes from summers spent in Northern Michigan and her experience as a Girl Scout. During the summer of 2016, she completed a NOLS 30-day backpacking expedition in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming. Zoe enjoys spending her time hiking in the woods, playing on the beach, reading a good book, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jed Brensinger, MS Logistics Coordinator

Jed grew up in Southeastern Pennsylvania where he started camping and canoeing from an early age. After college he began working with youth in a therapeutic wilderness program in Rhode Island and has been working with young people ever since. He worked in residential treatment for a number of years as a crisis interventionist and then facilitating an experiential/adventure education program. During that time he did everything from running music groups to facilitating ropes courses, teambuilding, and even directing a musical. He received his Masters degree in Environmental Social Science from The Ohio State University where his research focused on the importance of childhood outdoor activities in developing a sense of connection to nature. He has co-authored and published journal articles and book chapters on the subject, but now prefers to facilitate the experience directly, preferring to spend his time in the field over an office.

Julie A, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Julie graduated from Northwestern College (Orange City, IA) with a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science. After graduating with that degree, she worked for a summer as a personal trainer, then decided to go back to school to pursue a Master's degree in Outdoor Recreation. The road to discovering her passion for working in the outdoors began with an internship working with kids of all ages at an outdoor adventure center in Wales in the spring of 2008. Once she began pursuing her Master's degree, she became a Wilderness Education Association certified outdoor leader, working with Indiana University Outdoor Adventures to help lead college students on: rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, canoeing, and kayaking trips. In the summer of 2011, Julie helped lead a group of high school seniors on a week-long backpacking trip in the wilderness of North Carolina as part of Montreat College's Durham Academy Senior Challenge. She moved to Rochester, MN so her husband could attend school at Mayo. Meanwhile, she worked at an outdoor adventure specialty retail store, where she gained a plethora of knowledge about outdoor gear. Julie is a compassionate, empathetic, fun, encouraging individual, who is excited to combine her love for the outdoors and helping others through working with New Vision Wilderness. When she's not working on her thesis, Julie enjoys: cooking indoors, reading books outside, hiking with her husband and 2 dogs, mountain biking, whitewater canoeing, and rock climbing.

Eric Cychosz, B.A. Logistics Coordinator

Eric holds a B.A. degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. While at UWP, Eric played on their club hockey team in the ACHA. Eric grew up in the small town of Custer, WI where he found his love for the outdoors. While growing up he spent much of his time in the outdoors. During his last year or two at UWP, Eric found a passion for wanting to help others through social work and spent a majority of his schooling focused on the social sciences. In his free time, Eric enjoys hunting, fishing, coaching youth hockey, canoeing, backpacking, reading, and spending time with his family.

Rei U, B.A. Wilderness Field Instructor

While Rei was getting his Bachelor degree in Business Administration in Venezuela, he followed his passion of working in Recreation, summer camps and organizing events for many years, focusing in group leadership. His interests are human behaviors, all kind of sports, board games, and dancing. After working for Wisconsin Badger Camp he decided to use his experience and knowledge to make a difference in the future, creating hope and smiles to everyone that he meets.

Sean Y, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Sean graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Outdoor Education and Recreation. He found his passion for teaching adolescents about life in nature while working for an outdoor agency in Sitka, Alaska. He spends his free time hunting, hiking with his dog, practicing taxidermy, and spending time with his family. He has expanded his knowledge in the outdoors by gaining many certifications in Leave No Trace, Wilderness Medicine, and the Wilderness Education Association. He continues to explore natures beauty by hiking the Appalachian Trail, climbing 14ers in Colorado, and canoeing the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.

Cody J, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Having grown up in Northern Wisconsin, Cody considers the Chequamegon National Forest home. He joined the Army after high school and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the service, he attended UW Stevens Point, earning his Bachelors of Science in Natural Resource Management and Law Enforcement. Cody enjoys hiking, backpacking, and golf in his free time. He has backpacked both the Rocky Mountain National Park and Glacier National Park.

Mandi O, B.S., RYT Wilderness Field Instructor

Mandi holds a Bachelors of Science in community health education from the University of New Mexico, where she had many internships working with at risk youth and providing education resources to local communities. She grew up camping, hiking, snowboarding and rafting her way through the New Mexico and Colorado wilderness. Mandi studied psychology in Wales, UK for a year, where she found her strength and passion for helping others. After college, she decided to travel and became a registered yoga teacher. Recently she has been teaching yoga at local YMCA’s while studying deeper into trauma sensitive yoga, also becoming a personal trainer. She worked with at risk youth in case management and foster care programs within Minneapolis/St.Paul. Mandi spends her time with family, exploring with her dog, snowboarding, biking, and doing yoga. Mandi truly believes in the healing power of the wilderness and self discovery.

Genevieve H, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Genevieve grew up in a small town and on her family farm in Oxford, Wisconsin. She and her six siblings spent their free time exploring the nearby fields, streams and woods. She spent many days at camps and working at camps with youth. A deep love of nature grew out of her adventures and work. She received her Associate of Liberal Arts from Rivendell Sanctuary Honors Program of San Diego Christian College in Bloomington, MN. She then transferred to Montreat College in North Carolina to complete her bachelors in Outdoor Education. She has led backpacking trips in North Carolina and New Mexico. Also, she has worked with students at the Montreat College Team and Leadership Center. She became a yoga teacher at Black Mountain Yoga in North Carolina and developed a deeper understanding of movement, mind-body connection and the human nervous system. Genevieve’s love for nature and her passion to help others experience the outdoors and learn about themselves has brought her to New Vision Wilderness. She loves to spend time with family on the farm, do yoga and experiment with gardening, art and baking.

Steven U, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Steven was born and raised in northeast Wisconsin where he grew up camping and hiking in the northwoods. He graduated with a degree in the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. During his time in Minnesota, Steven worked in a variety of environments from juvenile detention centers, to residential treatment facilities, to school classrooms. But it was his experience in the outdoors, guiding professionally and exploring personally, that has most shaped him into who he is today. He spent the last few years on a series of adventures; embarking on a 2,000 mile bike trip, backpacking for twelve weeks in the desert of Southern Utah, and paddling on waterways and bodies of water across the country from San Francisco Bay to Lake Michigan to the Delaware River. Steven recently returned to Wisconsin to be closer to his friends and family (and his favorite Great Lake) and he couldn’t be happier to be joining New Vision and returning back to the north woods. When he’s not out on trail Steven enjoys writing songs, playing guitar, hunting, gardening, and working on primitive skills.

Jaime D, M.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Jaime holds a B.S. from Northern Michigan University and a M.S. from University of Cincinnati. During her studies, she focused on healthy lifestyle principles, community health, wellness, program planning, and sexual/domestic violence prevention and education. She grew up camping, hiking, biking, swimming and cross country skiing in Northern Michigan. As a Wilderness Field Instructor, she is thankful for the opportunity to combine her education with her outdoor skills to provide a safe space to grow and heal in nature.

Maggie G, M.F.A., B.A. Wilderness Field Instructor

Maggie is a Hoosier native raised in the Chicagoland area near Lake Michigan. As a teen, she loved writing, playing basketball, and stargazing at the Indiana Dunes. After earning her B.A. in English and Religious Studies from Indiana University in 2009, she worked in childcare for the Boys & Girls Club before moving to Southern Illinois where she taught English Composition for three years, earning her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2014. After graduate school, Maggie traded the indoor classroom for the outdoor one, working as an environmental educator at the McDowell Environmental Center in northern Alabama, where she fell in love with working in the natural world. In 2015, she moved west to edit her first book of poems as an Artist-in-Residence in Taos, New Mexico, followed by a stint as a farmhand in Northern California. After exploring the West Coast, Maggie returned to the Southeast in 2016, teaching on the Cahaba River in Alabama. Searching for a job that combined her background as a poet and her love of outdoors, Maggie moved back to the Midwest in 2017, spending two months in Chicago before finding her way to the North Woods. Maggie is excited to join the team at New Vision, to work with the teen population in the wilderness, and to learn as much as she can about therapy and healing.

Kyle N, B.A. Wilderness Field Instructor

Kyle is from Round Lake, Illinois where he grew up with a loving passion for the greater outdoors. He graduated from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Art's degree in Environmental Science, Geography and Earth Science, and GIS. Recently, Kyle has worked on the East and West coast the last couple of summers. While on the East coast, Kyle worked in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as an outdoor naturalist guide for the Appalachian Mountain Club. While on the West coast, Kyle worked as an outdoor guide in Yosemite National Park in California. Kyle is really happy to be with NewVision Wilderness, he is an Eagle Scout and is also a certified Wilderness First Responder

Adam W, B.A. Wilderness Field Istructor

Adam was born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He found his love for the outdoors with annual canoeing trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with his uncle and cousin. He has worked at multiple summer camps both guiding canoe and kayak trips as well as planning them. He has a Bachelors degree in Environmental Education from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He finds nature to be a calming and loving place and strives to help others enjoy it to the fullest. When not in the woods, Adam can be found canoeing, rock climbing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, and eating hot dogs or tacos

Dan V, B.S. Wilderness Field Istructor

Dan grew up exploring the waterways and forests of Northern Wisconsin, and loves to share his passion for ecology and exploration with the people around him. He graduated from Warren Wilson College, located in Western North Carolina, with a B.S. in Environmental Education and Sustainable Agriculture. Shortly after graduating, he traveled to Chile and Bolivia where he worked on farms, explored the diverse flora and fauna, and immersed himself in Latin American culture. Dan has also instructed extended wilderness expeditions to the Brooks Range of Alaska, the remote river systems of Northern Saskatchewan, and throughout the Great Lakes region. In his free time Dan enjoys cooking elaborate meals, paddling just about any watercraft, and playing with geographic spatial tools.

Jena S, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

School: Graduated from UW Eau Claire with a bachelors degree in communications and a minor in child psychology. Likes: Camping and tennis. Spend most of my free time playing recreational sports and cooking. Goals: To help youth find a better path in life and to make a difference in peoples life. Past work: I worked at a boy scout camp for two summers and love working in the outdoors and helping teach kids new skills.

Amanda M, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

Amanda's love of the outdoors stems from family camping trips to the shores of Lake Superior and countless days exploring the woods of her family's small Minnesota farm. With that love for the natural world she decided to pursue a degree in Outdoor Education and Recreation and graduated from the University of MN Duluth in 2013. Along with her passion for the outdoors she has an immense passion for helping others. She plans to pursue a masters degree in clinical social work, as well as a certification in trauma-sensitive yoga instruction. Amanda is a certified Wilderness First Responder. In her free time she enjoys sea kayaking, yoga, trail running, farming, and drinking coffee.

John C, B.S. Wilderness Field Instructor

John is from the Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin, and developed an early love for outdoors on the shores of Lake Superior, Quetico Provincial Park, and the Northwoods of WI. He is an avid skier, artist, traveler, friend, and family member. John graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland OR with a BS in Psychology, traveled far and wide, and has lived and worked in the Colorado Rockies and Chicago. He has guided wilderness trips, coached and taught skiing and swimming, and enjoys facilitating leadership programs. John is passionate about fostering and cultivating health, learning, sharing, creativity, leadership, community and growth. When he’s not in the woods, working, or on an adventure, John enjoys music, reading, writing, photography, sharing new ideas, time, and space with the people around him

Lauren L, B.A. Wilderness Field Instructor

Lauren is from Hudson, WI where she grew up spending time exploring the many forests and rivers in the area. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. In college she spent a semester studying abroad in Chile where she spent majority of her free time hiking and camping in the diverse landscapes. Lauren has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys being able to share this love with others. When she’s not in the woods, you can find her playing ultimate frisbee, spending time on the water, and hanging out with family and friends.

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