Staff

Matthew Brantner – Executive Director     

Matt B.jpgMatthew Brantner is the Executive Director of WisCorps and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  He got his start in conservation corps programs as a Crew Leader and eventual Program Manager for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps in 2005.  In 2009, after four years with the corps in Vermont, he worked with a small group of dedicated individuals to bring a conservation corps back to Wisconsin by founding WisCorps.

In addition to loving his role at WisCorps, Matthew is an avid outdoors person who loves camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, and cycling.  He enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters on their small farm where they garden and care for the land. matt.brantner@wiscorps.org

 

Stephanie Hanna – Environmental Education Manager

stephKnown as the WisCorps’ Nature Teacher and token Canadian, Stephanie has been teaching environmental education in an informal setting in the La Crosse Area for 18 years.  Stephanie’s constant connection to nature ever since she played with and likely ate June bugs in her sandbox at a very young age, has helped shape her role as an environmental/nature educator.  She enjoys walking, hiking, cycling, reading and just being outside as much as she can.

Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan and worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for 9 years before moving to the Driftless Area.  Her absolute favorite thing to hear from her students is “Wow!  I didn’t know ……!”  She loves to learn and visits other nature centers and natural areas wherever she goes with her husband Greg in tow.  Stephanie is also an avid film fan and dreams of the day when she can join some of her favorite famous biologists in the great outdoors to film some amazing interactions with nature’s critters. steph.hanna@wiscorps.org

 

Chad DuChateau – Operations Manager

chadThe glacial lakes of central Wisconsin is where Chad first learned the magic of being outside all the time. Woods, water, and a canoe was all he needed to get direction in life. He studied Landscape Architecture and Horticulture at UW-Madison. His first “corps” experience came after graduation, as a Peace Corps volunteer Chad traveled to the South Pacific island country of Vanuatu and worked with the Department of Forestry. The experience inspired a desire to travel and learn in the outdoors. He went on to build trail on the Continental Divide in Colorado, taught Leave No Trace as an “LNT Traveling Trainer”, and was an environmental educator on an island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Through it all he remained proud of his Wisconsin roots. Chad joined WisCorps in 2013 as a Crew Leader and has been the Conservation Program Coordinator since 2014.  Mentoring young people and conservation stewardship are what he values most about WisCorps.  Living in the Driftless area with his family is a true treasure. chad.duchateau@wiscorps.org

 

David Bashaw – AmeriCorps Program Manager

daveDavid Bashaw has been with WisCorps as a Career Planner since July of 2015 but recently transitioned into a new role as the AmeriCorps Program Manager. He graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Liberal Arts and Minor in Psychology. David has been working in the WIOA/WIA youth program since 2010. When not at WisCorps, he spends his time performing in several musical acts throughout the La Crosse area. david.bashaw@wiscorps.org

 

 

 

Matt Gaworski – WIOA Program Manager

matt-gWisCorps WIOA Program Manager, Matt Gaworski, is a graduate of Viterbo University in La Crosse WI. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Sociology and Psychology. He has been working in youth programming since 2000 and has over 15 years of case management experience. In his free time Matt enjoys playing music and is the drummer for the La Crosse based rock band, “This Could Be the Day.” Matt has been working with WisCorps for 2 years and enjoys the friendly atmosphere and all the great people he gets to encounter out in the community. matt.gaworski@wiscorps.org

 

 

Megan Walters – Career Planner

meganMegan Walters is a Career Planner in the WisCorps WORKS Program. She began working at WisCorps in July of 2015. Megan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in At-Risk-Youth Child Care. She has been working with youth for many years in a many different capacities including coach, mentor, direct care and case management. Megan really enjoys teaching youth employable skills in the classroom and working one on one with youth to achieve their goals. In her free time Megan enjoys spending time with friends and family, being outside and playing with her black lab. megan.walters@wiscorps.org

 

 

Pelli Lee – Youth Outreach & Transition Coordinator

PelliPelli Lee has been working with young adults and youth for over seven years. Hired on as the Youth Outreach & Transition Coordinator he works and trains the crews and crew leaders on building educational foundations and meaningful relationships that helps their development as future leaders in the workforce. He graduated from UW- La Crosse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Minor in Ethnic Racial Studies/Language. When he’s not working, he spends a large majority of his afternoons and weekends on the river fishing and detailing cars. pelli.lee@wiscorps.org

 

 

Tammy Schmitz – Facility & Events Manager

tammyTammy Schmitz received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UW-La Crosse in 2009, beginning her career in non-profit youth development.  She has served as a Disability Support Specialist at Catholic Charities and District Executive, Senior District Executive, and District Director at the Gateway Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.  Tammy became acquainted with the WisCorps mission while the WisCorps Office neighbored the Boy Scout Office on Quarry Road. After years of enthusiastically watching the organization grow, Tammy excitedly accepted the opportunity to join the WisCorps team in September 2016 as the Facility and Events Coordinator.

Tammy is a native French Islander and currently resides there with her partner Jon and their dog Joplin. She enjoys traveling, spending time outside, and being involved in the community.   Tammy and Joplin volunteer as a Pet Therapy Team through the Coulee Region Humane Society. tammy.schmitz@wiscorps.org

 

Andrea Frisch – Conservation Program Manager

AndreaInclusive Program Coordinator, Andrea Frisch, calls the La Crosse community home for almost 10 years. Andrea grew up in the “Northwoods,” regularly recreating with her family in Wisconsin’s state parks and national forests. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and a Master’s degree in Recreation Management both from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Andrea is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and bases her practice in the outdoors and adaptive sports. She is dedicated to creating greater accessibility to nature and outdoor recreation for people of all abilities. When she is not at WisCorps, Andrea enjoys practicing and teaching yoga; birding, hiking, skiing, and camping with her partner, Ryan and his service dog Wally. andrea.frisch@wiscorps.org

 

Evan Chalmers – Conservation Program Coordinator

EvanA native of McFarland, WI, Program Coordinator Evan Chalmers graduated from Hope College in Holland, MI with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He started working for WisCorps as a corps member in 2011. After taking a couple years off, he returned as a crew leader in 2016 and in 2018 became program coordinator. Evan enjoys WisCorps’ work atmosphere and being able to meet and work with the unique personalities conservation work attracts. He enjoys trivia of all kinds, visiting historic sites, and playing music. His favorite flower is trillium. His favorite bird is the grackle. evan.chalmers@wiscorps.org

 

 

Emily Post – Administrative Coordinator

Emily.jpgEmily grew up camping with her family all over Wisconsin, which sparked a lifelong love of the outdoors. She moved to La Crosse in 2009 to attend UW-La Crosse and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with an Environmental Studies minor. A favorite college professor of hers connected her to a job as an SCA AmeriCorps Intern with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge. After that, Emily spent two summers working as a ranger for the U.S. National Park Service in Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks. She loved those experiences, but moved back to La Crosse start the next chapter of her life with her husband and two sons. She enjoys hiking, camping, playing guitar, sewing, and musicals. emily.post@wiscorps.org

 

Justin Holten – Naturalist Corps

Justin.jpgJustin was born and raised in La Crosse Wisconsin. Growing up in the outdoors, he learned to have a knack for enjoying anything relating to nature. As a kid, Justin joined the Boy Scouts of America, where he began to excel as a leader and camp counselor. Receiving training in 2015 for in depth outdoor education and specializing in Leave No Trace, Justin brings his skills to help better our community through furthering the knowledge of the local natural areas.
Justin is proud of his accomplishments of being an Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor in the Boy Scouts, and has traveled across the country participating in training, events and adventures ranging from back-country camping, to running a summer camp, and more. justin.holten@wiscorps.org

 

Amber Bydynkowski – Naturalist Corps

AmberAmeriCorps member, Amber Bydynkowski, fell in love with nature as a young girl in the rural backwoods of central Wisconsin. She never missed a day of adventures outside with her older brother, Nick and childhood dog, Bo. Amber went on to graduate from UW-LaCrosse with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology: Pre-Veterinary Science and Environmental Studies. During the summer of 2016, Amber joined a WisCorps conservation crew and has since moved onto a position in the Environmental Education department. In her free time, Amber enjoys hiking, kayaking and camping, but most of all, spending any time she can outside with her dog, Nala. amber.bydynkowski@wiscorps.org

 

Abby Kotecki – Naturalist Corps

Though she has just moved to La Crosse in September 2018, Abby has already fallen in love with the driftless region. Abby first discovered her passion for the outdoors during her summers in the north woods of Wisconsin at her uncle’s cabin. She continued discovering more about the natural world into her higher education, and is a recent graduate from UW Madison in Environmental Studies and Conservation Biology. Having grown up camping, backpacking, and traveling to significant natural areas around the country, Abby has found her passion in teaching young people to find joy and meaning in the outdoors. Her goal is to eventually visit all the National Parks in America, and she has already crossed Yellowstone, Badlands, Olympic, Everglades, Rocky Mountain, Wind Cave, and Volcanoes National Park off of her list.  Other activities Abby enjoys include bad dancing, spending time with friends, reading fantasy novels, and cooking with as much butter and garlic as she possibly can. abby.kotecki@wiscorps.org

 

Taylor Smith – Naturalist Corps & Facility Assistant

TaylorNorthwest Pennsylvania is where Taylor spent her youth exploring the shores of Lake Erie and the old growth forests of Penn’s Woods. Her father, being a biologist, was a big influence towards building her appreciation and love of the outdoors. During her college career she worked as an Engineering Scientific Tech Intern for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. In 2017, Taylor obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geoscience from Slippery Rock University. After graduation, she joined Ernst Conservation Seed, working in the field and solidifying her plant identification skills. Shortly after, she found herself in Colorado facilitating family programs and outdoor educational activities for the YMCA of the Rockies. She then packed up her bags to start her next chapter here in La Crosse with WisCorps. Taylor loves to travel, camp, hike, rock climb, fish and ski. taylor.smith@wiscorps.org  

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