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.
Abby B, B.S.
Abby graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Animal Ecology and a minor in Forestry. Although not an Iowa native, Abby has always found the Northwoods to be home. During college, she spent summers in Northern Minnesota teaching environmental education and leading backpacking trips at summer camp. After graduating, she continued working in outdoor education at a nature center and later for the Minnesota DNR. Abby has always had an interest and passion for the outdoors and is always excited to share it with others. Abby is grateful for the opportunity to continue working with students in an outdoor setting at New Vision Wilderness. When she's not in the woods she enjoys hiking, kayaking, traveling, drinking coffee/tea, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Tessa grew up in Cleveland, Ohio where she spent every free moment outdoors swimming in Lake Erie, playing soccer, riding her biking through Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and walking her dog. She graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Cultural Anthropology, and minors in English and Public Health. While in college, she found time to travel out west several times to backpack through the Colorado mountains, along the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon, and across the Texan desert in Big Bend Nation Park. Now, she still spends as much time as she can outside riding her bike, hiking, frisbee golfing, and gardening.
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.
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.
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.
Larisa B.A., B.F.A.
Larisa grew up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she enjoyed hiking, backpacking, sailing and bike racing. She earned her BA in Psychology and BFA in Studio Art from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. She is currently earning her MAATC in Art Therapy and Counseling at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Larisa would love to work as a therapist in a wilderness setting when she completes her degree. In addition to outdoor activities, she enjoys cooking, reading and photography.
Alex Pasciak, B.S.
Alex is from Southeastern Wisconsin. As a kid, he enjoyed playing in the woods surrounding his home, hunting and fishing with his dad , camping with his family and friends, and visiting his family cabin “Up North” in Eagle River, WI. He has always loved and respected nature and the quiet lessons that his time outdoors has taught him. Alex studied Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, first focusing on Forestry, then switching to Natural Resource Planning. After graduating with a BS, Alex worked a series of jobs including Habitat Restoration, Cooking, Ski Instructing, and Outdoor Education. He learned a lot at each position and company, but always felt that there was something missing. A conversation with a psychiatrist pointed him in the direction of New Vision Wilderness and he hasn’t looked back. Alex loves camping and hiking with the students and getting to know them on a personal level through small tasks and rest time throughout the day. He also loves being a mentor and guide for them when they are struggling or just need someone to talk to. Through his work at NVW, Alex is learning the skills necessary to inspire hope and change in others and aspires to someday run his own coaching/therapeutic programs focused on helping people heal through time in nature and nurturing trusting relationships. Alex enjoys quiet time outside, playing guitar, kayaking, reading, hiking, swimming, snowboarding, camping, fishing and spending quality time with family and friends. He also loves to travel, and hopes to visit friends around the world in the years to come. His favorite place is on a lake in northern Wisconsin, reeling in walleye and small mouth with his dad.
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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