Field Staff in Wisconsin
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
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.
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.
Jaime Dziesinski M.S.
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.
Emily Fritz B.S., M.S., CTRS
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.
Winona Hapgood B.S.
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.
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
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.
Eric Cychosz B.A.
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.
Tara graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation and a certificate in Disability Studies. As a part of her honors project during her undergraduate work, Tara worked with middle school students at a state park teaching about ecology. This experience allowed Tara to see and experience the healing power and transformative benefits that natural environments can have on individuals, which is what drew her to working at New Vision Wilderness. Tara began working at New Vision Wilderness as an intern and decided to continue her work with the students in the woods as a Field Instructor! In her free time, Tara enjoys hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and spending time reading in her hammock.
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 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.
Dylan received a B.A. in Psychology from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. While at SJU, Dylan played on the soccer and volleyball club teams and was also one of the school's mascots. Dylan grew up in Dallas, Texas where he began his adventures in the outdoors. While growing up he spent many summers exploring national parks throughout the southwestern region of the US. Dylan has always had a passion for working with kids and helping others and spent a majority of his schooling focused on various aspects of developmental and social psychology. In his free time, Dylan enjoys traveling the world, coaching youth volleyball and soccer, canoeing, camping/backpacking, spending time on the beach, cooking and spending time with his family and friends.
Abbey loves to spend time outdoors and is grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy the natural world every day. Before starting with New Vision, she taught middle school English and served as a foster parent for youth in Northeastern Wisconsin. She also enjoyed five summers working at a YMCA summer camp in Northern Wisconsin in high school and college. In her free time, she is fond of going for walks, practicing yoga, drinking coffee with friends, and traveling. Although Abbey’s heart is truly most happy among Wisconsin’s snow-covered trees, glassy lakes, and beautiful wildlife, she has also been blown away on incredible outdoor adventures throughout the Western Hemisphere. Her favorites were in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, Alaska, Utah, and Arizona.
Maddie (Opie) B.S.
Maddie grew up on the coast of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, WI. Her childhood and adolescent years were filled with road trips, rock climbing, paddling, and backpacking around the US. The forest became her teacher and her second home. Maddie earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and Studies from UW - Madison. Her work as a field instructor with New Vision Wilderness allows for the perfect opportunity and combination of working with young people and our environment. When she's not in the woods, Maddie loves to read, watch movies, play music, and cheer on the UW Badgers!
Jordyn graduated from UW-Madison with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Environmental Studies. She has always had a passion for working with kids and their families and wants to pursue a Masters in Social Work in the future. After working with adolescents in many settings and growing up being outdoors in Wisconsin, a career at NVW stood out as a great opportunity to help others in an environment that was different, yet familiar. In her spare time, Jordyn loves running, reading, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends.
Josh grew up in Wisconsin and went to college to study recreation and youth leadership. After college, he worked in a variety of outdoor industry professions, including trail work in Nevada, outdoor educator in California , and as a climbing instructor in Colorado. He moved back to Wisconsin to continue to pursue a career in wilderness therapy.
Kevin graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2014 with a BS in Fisheries and Wildlife. He spent much of his childhood exploring the north woods of Wisconsin and was interested in a career that would allow him to be outside and enjoy nature. After graduation, Kevin took a position with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute where he developed a passion in teaching and adventure education. While at Clemson, Kevin facilitated a variety of outdoor activities such as rock climbing, high adventure courses, whitewater rafting and canoeing, ATV safety and operation, shooting sports and hunter education. Kevin took his newfound passion back to the Midwest and accepted a position with NVW, where he could continue working with youth in an outdoor setting. In his free time, Kevin enjoys playing Frisbee with his Australian Shepherd, Rue, disc golfing, fishing and waterfowl hunting.
Bri P, B.S
Bri's interest and dedication in working with youth started at a young age, landing a teacher assistant job at the YWCA before graduating high school. She persisted in the childcare department, ventured into school age, and teen programming at the YMCA, while attending the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and graduating with a B.S. in Child, Youth and Family Studies with an emphasis in Psychology. This field of study is reflective of Bri's passions and values as it is the study of human development and family relations in which the individual, family and community are interrelated. She has been a Day Camp Director, an Outward Bound Counselor, and Teen Night Coordinator previous to NVW and has found a talent to create a safe environment for teens to be open to growth and sharing feelings. Bri is an active Rugby player for UWSP and enjoys traveling, coffee, reading, humor, sunshine, and spending time with family and close friends on her off shifts. She has a passion for the outdoors, finding it to be a natural healer and teacher, and loves to see this come alive in our youths’ journeys at NVW.
Bill H B.A.
Bill has spent most of his professional life as a wilderness guide, outdoor skills instructor and mentor. He enjoys living and working out of doors and he is passionate about sharing this joy with others. Bill sees wilderness as a fundamental part of the human condition and his mission is to bring himself and others into unity with the natural world. In addition to his BA in poetry and creative writing, Bill has been deeply influenced by nature-based healing traditions of Northern Europe as well as South and North America. In addition to his work as a field instructor at New Vision Wilderness, Bill is the owner/operator of an adventure education and consulting service in Western Wisconsin.
Cate grew up in the Northwoods and feels lucky to have grown up doing outdoor activities ranging from canoeing to cross-country skiing. While at St. Olaf College, she studied psychology with concentrations in education and race studies. She spent a semester in New Zealand and three summers teaching in Colorado. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to visit family and friends, hiking, reading in coffee shops, walking dogs, and hammocking by rivers.
Whether she's sitting on the porch of a small chalet overlooking the Swiss Alps, laying on a frozen lake in northern Wisconsin looking at the stars, snowboarding in Germany, or biking along Lake Michigan, Sophia is happiest when she gets to spend time outdoors with other people.
Before starting with New Vision, Sophia spent six years traveling the world and studying social work at a German university nestled in the Black Forest. During this time, Sophia focused on how physical activity can be used to facilitate growth and change. Sophia has worked with at-risk populations in Germany, Iraq, and Wisconsin, combining her training as a social worker with her love for people and the outdoors.
Whenever she's not at work, you can catch Sophia getting coffee with friends, traveling, reading a good book, taking her dogs for a walk, or planning her next adventure.
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