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: Joshua.Benes@goldensandsrcd.org
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: Amy.Thorstenson@goldensandsrcd.org
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: 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 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: Asa.Plonsky@goldensandsrcd.org
Hannah Butkiewicz is the Cooperative Habitat Management Coordinator. 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:
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: Robert.Bauer@goldensandsrcd.org
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:
Austin Reabe is the CBCW Watercraft Inspector for Green Lake in Green Lake County. Austin is currently attending UW-Stevens Point majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Ichthyology. He has a strong educational background in fish biology and identification of invasive species. He grew up visiting family on Green Lake, and and is an avid outdoorsman.
Contact Austin at:
Anna Peterson is the Watercraft Inspector for the Clean Boats, Clean Waters programs at Pearl and Silver Lakes, Waushara County. As a native of Silver Lake and high honors student at the local high school, Anna brings both leadership skills and a life long passion for protecting the beautiful lakes of Waushara County.
Contact Anna at:
Shawn Henby is the AIS Technician for our southern central counties. After 17 years working as a firefighter and paramedic, he has realized his true calling which is working to protect the native ecosystems of Wisconsin waters. Shawn brings a background as an avid outdoorsman, together with his extensive hands-on volunteer experience and educational beginnings in Envir. Sci.
Contact Shawn at:
Selina Walters is the AIS Technician for our northern central counties. Selina is from Necedah, WI. She just wrapped up her freshman year at UW-Stevens Point where she is studying fisheries and aquatic sciences with hopes to become a wildlife biologist for the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Selina loves hunting, fishing, and doing all things outdoors. Contact Selina at: