STAFF MEMBERS

Joshua Beneš is the Executive Director and Woodland/Terrestrial Invasives Project Coordinator. Joshua has a B.S. in Env. Sci. and M.P.A from the University of Vermont. He worked for over 6 yrs on stream and forest ecology research, volunteered with his local Conservation Commission organizing environmental restoration projects, and worked on state and county watershed projects. Contact Josh at: Joshua.Benes@goldensandsrcd.org

Amy Thorstenson is Golden Sands RC&D's Advising Director.  After 15 years full-time with Golden Sands (10 as E.D.), she continues to help coordinate operations in a part-time capacity. She holds a B.S. in Water Resources, and an M.S. in Natural Resources from the UW-Stevens Point. Her thesis work on native milfoil weevils was published in 2013 by the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. Contact Amy at: Amy.Thorstenson@goldensandsrcd.org

Chris Hamerla is the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Marathon, Portage, Taylor, and Wood Counties.  Chris received his B.S. 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 focused on public outreach, education, and enforcement regarding WI AIS laws.  Contact Chris at: Chris.Hamerla@goldensandsrcd.org

Denise Hilgart is the Administrative Mgr and Sustainable Ag Coordinator. She owns a beef grazing business with her husband. Their farm has implemented grazing, nutrient mgmt, and conservation stewardship plans. She is a member/producer of Farmshed as well as an active member and Financial Officer of Auburndale Food Coop. She enjoys working with small businesses and is passionate about caring for farm animals, land and water. Contact Denise at: Denise.Hilgart@goldensandsrcd.org

Anna Cisar is the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Waushara, Waupaca, Marquette and Green Lake Counties. Anna has a B.S. in Environmental Science and minor in Chemistry from Carroll University. She has worked with regional planning commissions assisting in lake and stream surveys, managing AIS, assessing watershed data, and writing lake management plans. Contact Anna at: Anna.Cisar@goldensandsrcd.org

Rachel Bouressa is the Grazing Planner. She grew up on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin, and went to UW-Madison, focusing on grass-based systems and sustainable agriculture, and received degrees in Agronomy and Environmental Sci, and worked in the Agroecology Masters program. Rachel returned to her family’s farm and has a grass-fed beef operation.  She believes in the value and need for perennial, restorative ag. Contact Rachel at: Rachel.Bouressa@goldensandsrcd.org

Amanda Burzynski is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator.  Amanda graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a degree in Environmental Education and Interpretation.  Her passion for the outdoors comes from her childhood experiences hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and gardening.  She wants to use that passion to inspire others through her work at various camps and now here at Golden Sands.  Contact Amanda at:

Amanda.Burzynski@goldensandsrcd.org

Asa Plonsky is the Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator and Central Wisconsin Invasives Partnership (CWIP) Coordinator. Asa graduated from UW-Stevens Point with degrees in Biology and Water Resources. They worked on invasive species management with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources State Natural Areas Program and assisted in planning the Little Plover River restoration project. Contact Asa at: Asa.Plonsky@goldensandsrcd.org

Andy Richardson is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Wisconsin Rapids Office. He has a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from UW–Stevens Point and an M.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from North Carolina State Univ. He has worked on research projects to inform private land mgmt for grassland bird conservation in several states. Contact Andy at: Andy.Richardson@goldensandsrcd.org

John Zinn is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Viroqua Office.  In 2017, John retired as the Minnesota State Grazing Specialist for NRCS after a 13 year career in that capacity. Prior to that he worked for Vernon Land Conservation Department and operated a grazing based dairy.  He now grazes beef. 

Contact John at:

John.Zinn@goldensandsrcd.org

Jacob Hawes is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Prairie du Chien Office. He earned a B.S. in Conservation Management from Upper Iowa University. He has worked in various capacities with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and their partners restoring and maintaining wildlife habitat on public lands. Contact Jacob at: Jacob.Hawes@goldensandsrcd.org

Shannon Johnson is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Waupaca Office. Shannon has a B.S. in Soil and Land Mgmt from UW-Stevens Point and worked for NRCS in Alaska and Minnesota on wetland determination and policy. She also worked with wetlands in the private sector, on mining lands, county road projects and suburban lakeside properties. Contact Shannon at: shannon.johnson@goldensandsrcd.org​

Dana Lawrence is a Farm Outreach Specialist working through a partnership with the WI Dept of Ag Trade and Consumer Protection, working out of the Lafayette Co Land Conservation Office.  He has been a surveyor, wildland firefighter, soil conservation tech, and watershed coordinator with various conservation agencies and NGO's, including USDA Forest Service, NRCS, and RC&D's.  Contact Dana at: Dana.Lawrence@goldensandsrcd.org

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Call us:

715-343-6215

Location: 

1100 Main St Suite 150, Stevens Point, WI 54481

This organization is an equal opportunity provider