Board of Directors
The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) Board of Directors (‘board’)
John Huppert, President
John Huppert is one of the original founding members of NWLT and has served on the board since the organization’s inception in 2001. He is currently serving as President (and he previously held the position from 2004 to 2008). John is on the Executive, Finance and Conservation Committees.
His interest in the outdoors and natural resources began in childhood through family camping trips and fishing with his father. This led to a professional career of over 30 years as a forester with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – all of which in northern Wisconsin within the Northwoods Land Trust service area. Recently retired from DNR, he now works part time as a private consultant forester. His career provided him the opportunity to spend countless hours in the woods working on forest management activities on both state lands and privately owned properties. Seeing first-hand the changes in land ownership and the increase in forest fragmentation and development over those years lead him to recognize the value of land trusts and conservation easements in protecting this unique landscape.
John earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Forest Management and Soil Science from UW-Stevens Point in 1979. He is a member of Ducks Unlimited and enjoys upland bird and waterfowl hunting. He is an avid cross-country skier and bicycler and also enjoys kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, fishing, and walking his dogs.
Robert Martini, Vice-President
Bob Martini joined the NWLT board in 2004. He currently serves as Vice President and is a member of the Conservation, Executive and Finance Committees.
Bob has a B.S. in Zoology from UW-Milwaukee with graduate work in Microbiology. He worked for 32 years in the DNR Water Division on acid rain research, groundwater protection, the cleanup of the Wisconsin River, dam removal and licensing, and was the statewide river protection coordinator.
Bob and his wife Kathy donated a conservation easement on their Deerskin River property in Vilas County in 2006. Bob also serves as President of Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association, VP of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, President of the Nicolet College Foundation and former chair of the Nicolet College Board of Trustees, President of the Green Bass Lake Association, Trees For Tomorrow Natural Resource Education Center Advisory Council, the Oneida County Tourism Council, and a member of the Oneida County Board of Supervisors. Spare time is spent in wild places with water.
Atty. William Dickens, Treasurer
William Dickens, Jr. joined the NWLT board in 2009. He took on the Treasurer duties in 2017 and serves on the Conservation, Executive and Finance Committees.
Bill is an attorney and a philosophy instructor at Nicolet College. Bill holds a B.A. from Ripon College, a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a J.D. from the University of Oregon.
Bill developed an interest in serving a land trust while in law school in Oregon. He also volunteered his assistance for the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust. He was and remains attracted to land trust work because he believes conservation easements provide an excellent vehicle toward cooperative conservation, as distinct from environmental litigation. Bill and his wife Beth Tornes, who is also an NWLT board member, live in Lac du Flambeau.
Peter Davison, Secretary
Pete Davison joined the NWLT board in 2005. He took on the Secretary duties in 2011 and serves on the Executive Committee. Pete feels fortunate to have grown up in northern Wisconsin, and even more fortunate to live on the shore of a clear, cold lake and on a family tree farm. Pete’s father, a 35-year veteran Forest Ranger with the Wisconsin DNR, and his steadfast wife built that several hundred-acre tree farm, acre by acre. Their foresight allowed three sons to work in those woods and put themselves through college. All three of the sons also gained an undying appreciation for the woods, water, and wildlife that nature provides.
After attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and receiving a degree in psychology, Pete returned to the north. He worked first as an educational counselor for UW-Extension, and recently finishing a 35-year career with the US Postal Service. Along the way he thought it important to be involved in the community – serving as a local reporter on mining, as a school and county board member, and on the state mining and investment board. Pete now focuses his volunteer work on lake associations, a library board, and town zoning.
Pete and his wife Brenda are now the stewards for part of the family tree farm, hoping to pass it on to their two daughters and four grandsons. As a Forest County representative, Pete also feels fortunate to be involved with the Northwoods Land trust and like-mined volunteers to help others find an opportunity to pursue their dreams of saving a piece of northern Wisconsin for the enjoyment of generations to come.
John Bates joined the NWLT board in 2015 and serves on the Conservation and Education Committees. John is the author of nine books and a contributor to seven others, all of which focus on the natural history of the Northwoods. John’s poems have also appeared in five different art/science collaborations, several of which have traveled nationally. He’s worked as a naturalist in Wisconsin’s Northwoods for 30 years, leading an array of trips all designed to help people further understand the remarkable diversity and beauty of nature, and our place within it.
John has also served on the Board of Trustees for the Wisconsin Nature Conservancy, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and the Board of the River Alliance of Wisconsin. He now serves on the Board of the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and the Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts. John and his wife Mary live on the Manitowish River in Iron County where they raised two daughters.
John joined the NWLT board for two reasons: it’s filled with great people and has a great mission. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Ron Eckstein joined the board in 2013 and is a member of the Conservation and Education Committees. Ron was born in Milwaukee and lived in southeast Wisconsin until age 10. He then moved throughout Wisconsin (Antigo, Waterford and Greenfield). Ron received a BS and MS in Wildlife Ecology from UW-Madison. After living in Madison for six years he and his wife Jan moved to Rhinelander in 1974.
Ron’s first job out of college was with the Wisconsin DNR. His first station was Rhinelander and he completed his entire 36-year career there. Ron was one of two wildlife biologists covering Vilas, Oneida, and Forest counties as well as the statewide coordinator for the eagle and osprey conservation and survey work. He specialized in forest ecology, raptor management, and wild rice conservation. During Ron’s career he banded about 1,500 eaglets in the nest, erected over 70 osprey nest platforms, and spent 22 years as a Special Conservation Officer.
Jan and Ron Eckstein live near Nicolet College just south of Rhinelander and share a second home on Little Crooked Lake near Boulder Junction. They enjoy hiking, paddling, biking, XC skiing and everything about Lake Superior.
Terry Hatch, M.D.
Dr. Terry Hatch joined the NWLT board in 2018 and serves on the Education Committee. Terry is a pediatric gastroenterologist working at the Urbana campus of the Carle Foundation Hospital. Terry received his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, IN and his BS from the University of Illinois, Urbana. He did his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD.
Terry and his wife DiAnne live in Mahomet, IL, but also own land in the Springstead area of Iron County in northern Wisconsin. The Hatches granted their first conservation easement on their 80-acre Charnley Lake property to Gathering Waters in 1998. Gathering Waters transferred that easement to the Northwoods Land Trust in 2005, and Terry and DiAnne granted a second conservation easement to NWLT on 59 acres of adjacent land on Norma Lake at the same time.
Terry served for seven years on the Board of Directors of Gathering Waters – Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts. Terry and DiAnne received the Gathering Waters’ Land Legacy Award in September of 2017 for both their philanthropy and their direct conservation efforts. Their son Peter also serves as a volunteer conservation easement monitoring volunteer for NWLT.
Ben Meyer joined the NWLT board in 2021 and serves on the Education Committee. He has lived in the Northwoods for ten years, and is a Wisconsin native, originally from Mount Horeb. He spent the vast majority of his professional career in Northwoods journalism. From 2012 to 2019, he served in a variety of reporting and leadership roles at WJFW-TV in Rhinelander. Since then, he has worked as a journalist at WXPR Public Radio in Rhinelander. There, his central focus has been production of The Stream, a weekly series highlighting environmental and natural resources issues in the Northwoods. He is also currently entering his second year of law school at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He lives in Rhinelander with his wife Erika and their son.
Atty. Mitchell Olson
Mitch Olson joined the NWLT board in 2004 and serves on the Conservation Committee. Mitch obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1994, in International Relations (Managing the Global Commons) with Certificate in Environmental Studies. He subsequently earned his law degree from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Ore., in 1997. He also received a Master of Science degree in Urban & Regional Planning from UW-Madison in 2003.
Since 1997, Mitch has been licensed and actively practiced as an attorney. He has worked at the Eckert & Kost firm in Rhinelander, WI (1997-2005) and Axley Brynelson in Madison, WI (2006-present). Olson’s law practice focuses on civil litigation, with an emphasis on municipal, real estate, environmental and land use law.
Based on his time vacationing and residing in northern Wisconsin, he appreciates the developmental pressures affecting the region and the limited natural lands remaining, especially parcels with lake and river frontage. He strives to use his legal and land use expertise to assist the board in its mission.
From a personal perspective, Mitch is a dedicated fly-fisherman and outdoors enthusiast, including hiking, biking, camping, and canoeing. He learned to appreciate the outdoors and the environment from his grandfather, who took him on many fishing adventures throughout the state. Mitch also supports other conservation organizations, including Trout Unlimited and Gathering Waters Conservancy.
Steve Petersen joined the NWLT board in 2021 and serves on the Conservation Committee. In 2017, Steve resigned from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources after nearly 30 years of state forest and state park management and administration. Since then, he has been working in the real estate business out of offices in Minocqua, first at Redman Realty Group then as broker for the First Weber Realtors offices in Minocqua and Park Falls and the Wisconsin business out of Bessemer.
From age seven, he spent summers and weekends in the Minocqua area and worked at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest (NHAL) State Forest through high school and college. In 1988, he went to work for Wisconsin State Parks and worked in Sturgeon Bay, Kenosha, Cassville and Madison, where he was budget director and chief of operations between 1997 and 2000. In 2000 he moved north, to the Brule River State Forest where he was superintendent during the development of a significant masterplan and successfully worked to improve relations with local constituencies. In 2006, he ‘moved home’ to the superintendent position at the NHAL State Forest.
Along the way, he served on multiple boards including a liaison role to the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters. He served a six-year term on the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce including three years as president. He also was a member of the Minocqua Breakfast Rotary Club and was president there for two years.
Cathy Techtmann served on the NWLT board from 2003-2005 and rejoined in 2017 and serves on the Education Committee. Cathy in is a Professor of Community Resource Development with the University of Wisconsin-Extension. She currently serves as an Environmental Outreach State Specialist. She has a MS in Natural Resource Management-Interpretation and secondary teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Since 2010, Cathy has partnered with the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, US Forest Service and National Park Service to create the “Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban (Guiding for Tomorrow) or “G-WOW” Changing Climate-Changing Culture Initiative. This program is a service-learning climate change literacy model that integrates place-based Ojibwe traditional ecological knowledge with climate science. She also helped lead the successful 2010 Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve designation process.
Cathy also brings a wealth of experience in dealing with natural resource and community issues from her fifteen years of work as the Iron County UW-Extension Community Resource Development Agent. She literally wrote the book on the history of Iron County. She also has expertise in marketing and promotions from her prior work in the downhill ski industry.
Cathy’s environmental education programs focused on getting youth and adults out to experience firsthand the incredible Lake Superior ecosystem. She currently serves as President of a local lake organization for the property owners around the Gile Flowage, an outstanding water resource in Iron County, where she and her husband Harold own property.
Elizabeth (Beth) Tornes joined the NWLT board in 2005 and serves on the Finance Committee. Prior to joining NWLT, she was a Board Member and Treasurer of the Preserving Mother Earth Land Trust in Lac du Flambeau, WI from 1996 to 2005, when PME made the decision to come under the organizational umbrella of NWLT, donating their assets and taking a seat on the Board of Directors.
Her interest in environmental conservation began in childhood, when her family hiked and vacationed in many Ohio natural areas throughout the year. Her father, Jim Tornes, a retired nurseryman and landscape designer in Columbus, taught her to identify many tree and plant species, and instilled in her a love of the natural world. She is a member of Gathering Waters, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, The Nature Conservancy, and a number of other environmental organizations. She served as a DNR Loon Citizen Monitor for many years on Ross Allen Lake in Lac du Flambeau, where she lives with her husband Bill Dickens, also a NWLT Board member.
She holds advanced degrees in English and Creative Writing, and is a poet with four award-winning poetry collections, and poems in many literary journals. She retired in 2018 from her job as a grant writer for the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc., a consortium of 12 Tribes of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. She and Bill enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing, cross- country skiing, travelling, and going on long walks together.
Past NWLT Board Members:
Jim Holperin* (2001-2011)
Willa Schmidt* (2001-2013)
Tiffany Lyden* (2001-2002)
Tom Ellis* (2001-2005)
Ed Drager* (2001-2006)
Clifford Haskins* (2001-2004)
Martha Milanowski* (2001-2004)
Roger Sabota* (2001-2004)
John Seibel* (2001-2001)
Lisa Wood* (2001-2003)
Roxanne Poupart (2003-2005)
Cathy Techtmann (2003-2005)
Timothy Hagen (2004-2006)
Jerry Parker (2004-2010)
Ed Mouw (2006-2009)
Frederick Rikkers (2008-2009)
Scott Craven (2011-2013)
Michael Meyer (2012-2015)
H.K. Mueller (2013-2017)
Bryan Pierce* (2001-2019)
Sue Coffman (2006-2019)
Dan Wisniewski (2005-2020)
Meta Reigel Brandt (2007 – 2021)
Mary Schwaiger* (2001-2022)
*Founding Board Members
The NWLT Executive Director also serves on the NWLT Board of Directors.