Joshua Beneš is the Executive Director of Golden Sands RC&D. Joshua has a B.S. in Environmental Science and Masters of Public Administration 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:

Amy Thorstenson is Golden Sands RC&D's Advising Director.  After 16 years full-time with Golden Sands (11 as E.D.), in 2019 she passed the torch to Josh but 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:

Hannah Butkiewicz is the Assistant Director. Hannah is originally from Waupaca, Wisconsin. She graduated from UW- Madison in 2016 with a degree in Forest and Wildlife Ecology and is now working towards a Master's Degree from UWSP in Wildlife. Hannah loves hiking with her hounds, camping, studying wildlife, banding birds and working with trail cameras. Contact Hannah at:

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:

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:

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:

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 of 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:

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:

Chris Hamerla is the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Lincoln, 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 law enforcement position that focused on public outreach, education, and enforcement regarding WI AIS laws.  Contact Chris at:

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:

Klayton Kree is a Soil Conservation Technician working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the Medford Field Office. Klayton graduated from UW-Stevens Point with a B.S. in Soil and Land Management. He began his passion for the outdoors when he was young and enjoys hunting, fishing, and hiking. He is passionate about conserving and enhancing our natural resources. Contact Klayton at:

Shannon Johnson is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with 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:​

Robert Bauer is in the Prairie du Chien NRCS Service Center as our full-time Grazing Specialist/Soil Conservationist.  He graduated with a M.S. in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences from Virginia Tech.  Robert worked at Southwest Badger RC&D and the Tennessee NRCS.  He loves livestock grazing management, gardening, biking, and traveling abroad in Latin America.  Contact Robert at:

Tristyn Forget is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the NRCS in their Wisconsin Rapids Office. She has a B.S in Chemistry from Viterbo University and a M.S. in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she worked to develop a blueprint for the University to reduce its annual winter and water softener salt use by 25%. Contact Tristyn at:

Kevin Munkwitz is the Administrator Assistant Intern at Golden Sands RC&D. Kevin is currently attending UW-Stevens Point majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations, and Interpersonal and Organizational Studies. He helps conserve wildlife and land resources through hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring nature.

Contact Kevin at:

Lindsi Hagen is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Juneau County. She has been working as a contractor with NRCS since October 2017. She started out in the Mauston Field Office and then worked in Public Affairs and Management and Strategy at the WI NRCS State Office. Contact Lindsi at 

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1100 Main St Suite 150

Stevens Point, WI 54481

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This organization is an equal opportunity provider.