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Our Staff



Amy Thorstenson is Golden Sands RC&D's Executive Director and the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Portage, Marathon, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood Counties. Amy has worked for Golden Sands RC&D since 2002, primarily working on AIS issues.  Amy holds a BS in Water Resources, and an MS in Natural Resources from the UW-Stevens Point. Her thesis work on milfoil weevils was published in 2013 by the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. Amy and her registered therapy dog, Mija, enjoy visiting schools and libraries to help children learn how to read. 

Contact Amy at: Amy.Thorstenson (at) goldensandsrcd.org


Joel Kuehnhold is Golden Sands RC&D's Assistant Director, Grazing Specialist, and Forester.  Joel holds a BS in Agricultural Education and an MS in Special Education. Joel owns Lonely Oak Farm, a highly diversified grazing operation near Milladore, in the heart of the Mead Wildlife Area. Prior to coming to Golden Sands, Joel was the agricultural education instructor in the WI Rapids Public School Dist, where he taught sustainable ag, renewable energy, organic farming, food processing systems, wildlife management, and forest resource management. Joel serves in an advisory role for several organizations and foundations working to build local sustainable food networks. In his spare time, Joel enjoys camping, kayaking, and spending time with family and friends.

Contact Joel at: Joel.Kuehnhold (at) goldensandsrcd.org 


Chris Hamerla is the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Green Lake, Marathon, Marquette, Taylor, and Wood Counties.  Chris received his BS in English from UW-Stevens Point. He has been working with AIS since 2008.  He was one of the first Water Guard Deputy Conservation Wardens, a position that focuses on public outreach, education, and enforcement regarding WI AIS laws.  Chris brings his knowledge from being a Conservation Warden and a previous AIS Coordinator to this position with Golden Sands RC&D. Chris's interests include snorkeling, fishing, hunting, cooking, and photography.

Contact Chris at:  Chris.Hamerla (at) goldensandsrcd.org 

 Ethan Robers is an AIS Tech. for Taylor, Wood, and Marathon Counties. He is a Wildland Fire Science and Forest Ecosystem Restoration majors with a minor in Conservation Biology and the Wetland Certificate at UWSP. His focus is on invasive species, both terrestrial and aquatic. Ethan is heavily involved in multiple student organizations within the College of Natural Resources and an elected officer for SWAMP (Students for Wetland Awareness Management and Protection), COOL (Collaboration of Organizational Leadership within the CNR) and the Fire Effects Officer for the UWSP Fire Crew. Some of Ethan's interests include camping, hiking, biking, plant identification, and fishing.

Contact Ethan at: Ethan.Robers (at) goldensandsrcd.org

Denise Hilgart is Golden Sands RC&D's Book Keeper.

Contact Denise at:  Denise.Hilgart(at) goldensandsrcd.org


Contact at:  (at) goldensandsrcd.org



Contact at:  (at) goldensadsrcd.org