Meet the Hunt Hill Staff

Nikki Janisin, Executive Director since October, 2014. Before stepping into the Executive Director position, she had served as the Program Director since 2008 and before that had been a summer environmental educator for two summers.  Nikki is a graduate of UW-Eau Claire with a degree in Biology Education. She recently moved to Haugen where she resides with her husband Dan, son Joe and dog, Ruger. When she is not hanging out at Hunt Hill, she spends her time taking her son on adventures, curling and crafting.

What does it mean to be the Executive Director of a nature center and sanctuary? Major responsibilities include:  guiding the short and long-term plans for Hunt Hill to fulfill the wishes of Frances Andrews (original donor of the property); working with the volunteer Board of Directors; keeping a good working relationship with the National Audubon Society; managing the financial and legal responsibilities of the organization; managing the staff; being the chief public relations person welcoming visitors; and speaking to groups.

What I enjoy the most about Hunt Hill:  Hunt Hill holds such a special place in my heart and I have especially enjoyed hearing the stories of others who have been positively impacted by their experience here.  I am inspired and motivated by our donor, Frances Andrews, who showed early insight to protection and education of the environment.  Hunt Hill is a beautiful place with wonderful staff, volunteers, members and visitors and I feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Contact Nikki:

Sage Dunham, Program Director since January, 2019. Born and raised in Shell Lake, Sage has been part of the Hunt Hill community since childhood. She was the Day Camp Director for two summers, an Environmental Educator for three summers, and a Junior Counselor for one summer. Sage graduated from Soka University with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Studies and then studied Elementary Education at St. Catherine University. She enjoys canoeing, swimming, doing arts and crafts, dancing Zumba, and playing card games with her family.

What does it mean to be the Program Director of a nature center and sanctuary? Major responsibilities include: Planning, promoting, and scheduling programs and rentals; hiring and managing seasonal educators; working collaboratively with area organizations; editing Hunt Hill publications; and preparing grants.

What I enjoy the most about Hunt Hill: My favorite thing about Hunt Hill is that it provides many experiences for learning about the natural world. I have fond memories from my childhood of seeing butterflies come out of their chrysalises, catching frogs, and watching fireflies at Hunt Hill. It has been so fulfilling to come back and inspire the next generation of naturalists, especially those who would otherwise be tentative about interacting with the natural world. It is wonderful to see a person handle a spider, bug, or snake for the first time! Hunt Hill provides the community with a place to explore and connect with nature in lasting and memorable ways.

Contact Sage:

Kelsey Probasco, Program Coordinator since January 2020. Born and raised in Sheboygan, WI, Kelsey recently moved to Rice Lake with her husband, Mark. With a background in elementary and special education, Kelsey was thrilled to find a position that would allow her to use these skills while embracing her love for the outdoors. In her free time, she loves to go hiking, camping, and kayaking with her husband, spend time with family, and enjoy a good book.

What does it mean to be the Program Coordinator of a nature center and sanctuary? Major responsibilities include: Promoting and coordinating the public programs offered by Hunt Hill; organizing volunteers for these public programs; and promoting and managing social media pages for Hunt Hill.

What I enjoy most about Hunt Hill: Having moved to the northwoods of Wisconsin because of my love for the outdoors, it is a blessing to be able to call such a beautiful place my workspace. I love that Hunt Hill provides our community the opportunity for outdoor adventures and to learn about nature in such a fun, exciting place.

Contact Kelsey:

Sally Bartz, Office Manager since March, 2014: has 3 kids, 4 grandchildren and a Westie named Duncan.  She lives in Shell Lake where she enjoys quilting, riding bike and snowshoeing.

What does it mean to be Office Manager of a nature center and sanctuary?  Major responsibilities include: bookkeeping, office paperwork, greeting visitors, registration, maintaining email lists, tracking membership and much more.

What I enjoy the most about Hunt Hill: It’s such a beautiful setting for a job.  I enjoy meeting the Hunt Hill’s members and campers, and listening to the kids having fun outside.  I think it’s important for kids to learn to appreciate the outdoors.  I know I feel a sense of peace come over me when I’m out in the woods.  Its also a great bunch of people to work with.

Contact Sally:

Head Maintenance: Mark Sauer since March, 2019, is a Sarona native who lives just up the road from Hunt Hill with his wife Julie. He has 3 children and 4 grandchildren, with another one due in May of 2019.  He enjoys many outdoor activities and volunteering with area groups and organizations.  His grandmother and her siblings were actively involved with Frances Andrews during her Sarona days. 

What does it mean to be the maintenance crew of a nature center and sanctuary? Major responsibilities include: all maintenance work, general cleaning, landscaping, and facilities improvements at Hunt Hill as assigned by the Executive Director and Board of Directors of the Friends of the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, Inc.

What I enjoy the most about Hunt Hill: Being able to work in the beautiful preserved setting of Hunt Hill and to contribute to the history and heritage of the center and sanctuary at a time when facility and grounds improvements are being made, made possible by the many contributors and volunteers.

Larry Piskie, Assistant Maintenance, has been keeping Hunt Hill looking great since the spring of 2000. Native to Illinois, he fell in love with the area and now lives on Long Lake with his wife Colette 9 months out of the year and then they ‘fly south’ for some much needed rest before he returns for the busy season.

What does it mean to be the maintenance crew of a nature center and sanctuary? Major responsibilities include: all maintenance work, general cleaning, landscaping, and facilities improvements at Hunt Hill as assigned by the Executive Director and Board of Directors of the Friends of the Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, Inc.

What I enjoy the most about Hunt Hill: I welcome the opportunity to work in the outdoors with nature.  I enjoy talking with visitors about the special resources available at Hunt Hill and I am continually learning about wildlife and experiencing it firsthand. Being employed at Hunt Hill provides me with an opportunity to grow personally while having a hand in local land and wildlife preservation. I am an advocate for the Hunt Hill buildings, lands, flora and fauna. There is great enjoyment in the participation of a dedicated young organization as it continues to grow and reach out to more people right in our neighborhood.

Summer Staff 2020

Summer Environmental Educators

We are currently hiring six Summer Environmental Educators for the Summer of 2020! If you are interested in joining our team, please visit our Employment web page for more details.

Past Summer Staff

Summer Staff 2019: Kneeling L to R – Wynn, Sage, Sally and JoJo, Bethany, Dan
Standing L to R – Cal, Taylor, Mark, Nikki, Casey, Larry

Summer Staff 2018: Seated, L to R – Hannah, Kallie, Hannah, Sydney, Taylor, Kela, Evan
Standing, L to R – Sage, Jim, Nikki, Larry, Sally

Summer Staff 2017: Kneeling, L to R – Sage, Nick, Sarah, Katie, Idgie (camp dog), Caelyn
Standing, L to R – Nikki, Sally, Jim, Larry
Not Pictured: Balin

Summer Staff 2016: Seated L to R – Tara, Jane, Sarah, Katie, Idgie the camp dog, Darcy
Standing L to R- Jim, Sally, Nikki, Larry

Summer Staff 2015: Seated L to R – Molly, Kari, Kelsey, Lauren, Idgie the camp dog, Katie C.
Standing L to R – Katie B, Larry, Nikki, Sally, Jim  
Not Pictured: Joakim

Summer Staff 2014: Seated L to R- Laura, Kelly, Nicole, Sara, Sally, Ruger, Nikki, Larry, John and Jim.
Standing L to R- Janet, Nicole, Sage, Storme

Summer Staff 2013: Seated L to R – Callie B, Elizabeth E, Storme N, Ruger, Nikki N, Elise M and Jan K. Standing in 2nd row – Larry P, John M and Jim G.
Standing behind sign L to R – Nicole Z, Kim S, Carla C, Terry D and Sage D.

Summer Staff 2012:  Seated L to R – Nikki Rukamp, Sage Dunham, Catie Kriplean, Ruger Nelson (camp dog), Nikki Nelson, Jan Killian and Sam Anderson.
Standing L to R: Storme Nelson, Larry Piskie, John Hartman. Missing from photo: Cooks: Carla Cewe and Kim Stephanites

Summer Staff 2011: L to R- Nikki Nelson, Ruger, Storme Nelson, Sydney Schieffer, Kelsey Clinton, Catie Kriplean, Karen Kress, Larry Piskie.
Back Row: L to R- Sarah Santa Cruz, Colette Piskie, Nikki Rukamp.

Summer Staff 2010: L to R – Travis VanBeek, Park Taylor, Kyle Green, PaHoua Lee, Nikki Rukamp, Nikki Nelson, Ruger, Storme Nelson, Karen Kress, Ava Gustafson, Ashley Enoch. Back Row L to R: Colette Piskie,  Larry Piskie.

Summer Staff 2009: L to R – Elizabeth Shmikler, Kyle Green, Ruger, Nikki Nelson, Colette Piskie, Storme Nelson,
Park Taylor, Kelly Winum, Ava Gustafson, Pahoua Lee, Karen Kress and Larry Piskie.

Summer Staff 2008: L to R – Storme Nelson, Cody Myers, Bailey Woodruff, Colette Piskie, Larry Piskie,
Jessica Pettersson, Nikki Nelson, Jillian Bjorklund, Karen Kress, Amber Mealman, Eric Severson