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

Operations 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.

Program Director

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.

Field Director

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.

Eli - NVW Program Coordinator

Eli LaMouria

Program Coordinator

Eli is a California native who is passionate about nature, adventure, and educating the next generation. Her travels have taken her all over the US, and most recently to China where she ran adventure camps throughout the country for a Beijing-based adventure company. Seeing the need for more kids to experience the healing abilities of nature brought her to New Vision Wilderness. She has been in the camping industry since 2003 and is currently finishing her BA in Outdoor Education. In the Spring of 2020, she will be completing her Wilderness EMT as well as Master Leave No Trace, and a hand-full of other wilderness survival certifications. She is passionate about her family and fully enjoys all the craziness of being a mom to 4 boys and 1 girl.

Winona Hapgood B.S.

Academic and Adventure Education 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.

Lauren Lingenfelter B.A.

Field Specialist

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.

Abby B, Wilderness Field Instructor, New Vision Wilderness

Abby Barten, B.S.

Logistics Manager

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.

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.

Cate, B.S.

Wilderness Field Mentor

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.

Drew, B.A.

Wilderness Field Instructor

Drew grew up in Northwest Minneapolis and has loved the outdoors for as long as he can remember. Growing up in the “land of the lakes” instilled in Drew a sense of adventure and a love of being near the water. Drew received his bachelors degree in business administration and began working in a logistics position at a shipping company which lacked adventure and meaning that Drew craved. Drew was looking for a way to reconnect with his love of adventure and the outdoors which led him to spending some time abroad. When his time abroad ended, Drew was looking to integrate these experiences into a purpose driven and meaningful career which is what led him to New Vision Wilderness. Drew enjoys his connections to the students and meaningful work he is able to do set in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. In his free time, Drew enjoys exploring and engaging in his community, caring for plants and continuing to learn and grow.

Sarah, MSW

Wilderness Field Instructor

As a child, Sarah lived in the Adirondack mountain region with her family. She recalls memories of early childhood traveling to a nearby natural spring for water. Her love of the outdoors has been fostered through years of hiking in the Adirondacks and the Blue Ridge Mountains near her home in the Carolinas. Now on an adventure to explore the north woods of Wisconsin, Sarah enjoys hiking, camping, hunting and fishing-though her true peace is found on the water in any vessel that floats. When not in the woods, you’d probably find Sarah writing or lounging with a book, making music with friends around a fire or crafting things with her hands. Sarah holds a bachelor’s of social work from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC and a master’s of social work from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. She is dedicated to facilitating a meaningful journey for our students in the wilderness and dreams of being a wilderness therapist some day.

Joe, B.A.

Wilderness Field Instructor

Joe grew up in Michigan and has been going camping with his family as long as he can remember. In more recent years, Joe learned that he prefers living in the woods to life in the city and strives to share this passion with everyone he meets. Joe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Michigan State University and feels incredibly fortunate to be able to apply the knowledge from his education in the woods. He owns being goofy and hopes that this mindset can help everyone around him to be the most themselves that they can be. Joe dreams of climbing mountains around the world but always feels at home hiking through the woods. When he is not in the Northwoods, he can be found mountain biking, listening to a variety of records, sailing, and spending time with his family.

Sophia, B.A.

Wilderness Field Instructor

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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