Hannah Butkiewicz is the Executive Director of Golden Sands RC&D. She graduated from UW-Madison in 2016 with a degree in Forest and Wildlife Ecology and is now working towards a M.S. from UW-Stevens Point in Wildlife. Hannah loves hiking with her hounds, camping, studying wildlife, banding birds and working with trail cameras. More about Hannah.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 701
Amy Thorstenson is Golden Sands RC&D's Advising Director. After 17 years full-time with Golden Sands (11 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 UW-Stevens Point. Her thesis work on native milfoil weevils can be found in the Journal of Aquatic Plant Management.
Email Phone: (715) 346-1264 Ext. 702
Joshua Beneš is the Director of Operations. He originally started work with Golden Sands RC&D as a Project Coordinator in 2017 and stepped into the role of Executive Director in January 2019. He passed the torch on to Hannah in January 2021 because he moved back to his home state of Vermont. He will continue working remotely for Golden Sands RC&D for the next few months.
Email Phone: (715) 346-1264 Ext. 711
Denise Hilgart is the Admin Manager / Finance Director and Sustainable Ag Coord of Golden Sands RC&D. She owns & operates an Organic certified beef farm that implements grazing, nutrient mgmt, and conservation stewardship programs. She enjoys working with small businesses to resolve business challenges and is passionate about caring for farm animals, land and water.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6217 Ext. 703
Kyle Kettner is a Soil Conservationist working through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in their Westfield office. He has a B.S. in biology from UW Oshkosh and is finishing his M.S. in soil science from UW Madison. Kyle's focus is to find ways to connect science and land stewardship in our everyday lives. In his free time he enjoys camping, and woodworking.
Email Phone: (608) 296-2815 Ext. 8019
Rachel Bouressa is a Grazing Planner. She grew up on a dairy farm in central WI, went to UW-Madison focusing on grass-based systems and sustainable ag, received degrees in Agronomy and Envir Sci, and worked in the Agroecology Masters program. Rachel returned to her family’s farm and has a grass-fed beef operation. She is a leading advocate for regenerative ag. More about Rachel.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 706
Amanda Burzynski is the Environmental Education and Outreach Coordinator/Administrative Assist. 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 fishing, camping, hiking, and gardening. She wants to use that passion to inspire others through her work at Golden Sands.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 710
Asa Plonsky is the Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator and Cooperative Invasive Species Area (CISMA) Coordinator. Asa graduated from UW-Stevens Point with degrees in Biology and Water Resources. They worked on invasive species management with the WI DNR State Natural Areas Program and assisted in planning the Little Plover River restoration project. More about Asa.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 707
Chris Hamerla is the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Coordinator for Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Taylor, Wood Co's. Chris received his B.S. in English from UW-Stevens Point. He has been working with AIS since 2008 and was one of the first Water Guard Deputy Conserv Wardens, a law enforcement position that focused on public outreach, educ, and enforcement regarding WI AIS laws.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 704
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.
Email Phone: (608) 637-2183 Ext. 218
Jacob Fluur is a Terrestrial Invasive Species and Cooperative Woodlands Assistant with Golden Sands RC&D. Jacob graduated from UWSP with a B.S. in Natural Resources Planning in 2019 and has worked with land trusts on invasive species and restoration. It is his goal to do this as a career in the future. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys fishing, camping and foraging.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 713
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 Wisconsin NRCS State Office.
Email Phone: (608) 847-7221 Ext. 114
Robert Bauer is in the Prairie du Chien NRCS Service Center as our full-time Grazing Specialist/Soil Conservationist. He graduated with a Master's degree 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.
Email Phone: (608) 326-7179 Ext. 103
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%.
Email Phone: (715) 423-3610 Ext.108
Kevin Munkwitz is an Administrative Assistant at Golden Sands RC&D. Kevin graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 2020 with a degree in Communication, and is working on his Master's degree in Healthcare Administration at UW-Stevens Point. In addition to working for Golden Sands RC&D, he helps conserve wildlife and land resources through hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring nature.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 712
Kendra Kundinger is an Aquatic Invasive Species Technician with Golden Sands. Kendra grew up in Central Wisconsin and earned her B.S. in Natural Science from UW-Stevens Point in 2019. She is currently pursuing a P.S.M. degree in Conservation Biology through UW-Stout. She loves to participate in any outdoor activity such as hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, and exploring nature.
Email Phone: (715) 343-6215 Ext. 705
Sam Welch is a Soil Conservation Technician working through a partnership with NRCS in their Westfield office. He grew up on a small farm in Manawa, where he had a large garden and raised beef cattle and chickens. Sam graduated from UW-Stevens Point in soil and waste resources. His interests include hiking, bowhunting, and the benefits of soil health for the ecosystem.
Email Phone: (920) 659-1123
CBCW Team is this summer's team of LTEs who will be talking to boaters about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. They are stationed at:
*Silver Lake & Pearl Lake = Anna Peterson
*Lake Helen = Sam Coates
*Big Bass Lake = Joey Ilada
*Green Lake = Phil Troschuk
Click here to get to know them or connect with them by email.
Ricky Xiong is an Aquatic Invasive Species Technician for Golden Sands. Ricky graduated with a degree in Water Resources from UW-Stevens Point and has studied abroad in Costa Rica and Kenya. He hopes to go to grad school to focus on coastal wetland restoration. He enjoys horticulture, nature photography, and other outdoor activities such as swimming, free-diving, hiking, foraging, and camping.