14006 Discovery Lane • Manitowish Waters, WI 54545 • 877-543-2085

Meet Our Staff

Administrative and Facilities Staff

John Heusinkveld

Executive Director

John Heusinkveld came to NLDC in September, 2017 having served as the Assistant Director at the UWSP Treehaven outdoor education center since 2001.  He holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Iowa and a Masters from The University of Wisconsin.  John enjoys camping, fishing and flyfishing, canoeing, hunting, skiing, cooking and most outdoor pursuits.  He has a daughter who is graduating college, and a yellow lab, Rosie. 

Contact John at john@discoverycenter.net with questions on: Charitable Contributions, Volunteer and Partnership Opportunities, Community Outreach, and Programs

Karla Wotruba

Membership & Marketing Coordinator

Karla joined the Discovery Center team in October 2014. She and her family moved to the Northwoods in 2012. Together, they participate in many of the outdoor activities the area has to offer, including hiking, camping, paddling, and downhill skiing. Karla has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and enjoys rooting for her Wisconsin Badgers. She is inspired to work for a non-profit and to share the beauty and peacefulness of the Northwoods with other families.

Contact Karla at karla@discoverycenter.net for questions regarding: Memberships, Registrations, or General NLDC Information

Lynn Wildes

Facility & Event Coordinator

Lynn joined the Discovery Center team in May 2012. Lynn and her husband moved to the Northwoods from southern Wisconsin in 1996 and love living and raising their family here. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in Speech Communication and Public Relations, and is excited to use her marketing background to help the Discovery Center fulfill its mission and service opportunities.

Contact Lynn at lynn@discoverycenter.net for questions on: Weddings and Cabin/Site Rentals

Ryan Wahlgren

Grounds / Trail Coordinator

Ryan grew up in Boulder Junction, and has spent the last six summers building docks and decks in the Northwoods. He enjoys the outdoors as much or more than any man up here, and is an avid musky and walleye fisherman, and tournament angler. Ryan took the job here because he loves being part of a great place for kids to expand their outdoor experiences and education.

Contact Ryan at ryan@discoverycenter.net for questions on: Trails, Buildings, and Grounds Maintenance

Julie Remer

Administrative Assistant 

Julie took on the newer position of administrative assistant.  She and her family moved to the Northwoods in 2007. She loves the activities the area has to offer, including hiking, kayaking, biking, fishing and hunting. Julie has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Biology with a minor in Captive Wildlife Management. She is excited to work for a non-profit organization and be able to share her love of the outdoors with other families.  

Contact Julie at julie@discoverycenter.net for questions on: program registration, membership renewal, and general office questions

Lisa Fossum


Lisa is originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago and relocated to the area in 2006.  Her family has been part of the Northwood’s of Wisconsin since 1954.  Her broad education and professional background include accounting, finance and software project management. She is a recreational single engine pilot, which allows her to have a birds-eye view of the extraordinary Northwood’s.  She feels privileged to have the opportunity to live in this beautiful land and to contribute her experience to the continued success of the NLDC.

Contact Lisa at lisa@discoverycenter.net for questions on: accounts receivable/payable, and general bookkeeping questions 

Program Staff

Licia Johnson

Education Director/Naturalist

Licia joined the Discovery Center team in spring 2007 as a seasonal Environmental Educator. In December 2007 she was appointed permanent staff. Licia graduated from Carroll College in Waukesha, WI in May 2004 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Geography. In addition to teaching, Licia is the coordinator for the Center's outreach programs.

Contact Licia at licia@discoverycenter.net for questions on: School Programs, Drop-in Activities, and Acoustic Bat Monitoring

Emily Heald

Water Program Coordinator

Emily has a B.S. from Northland College in Natural Resource Management. She also has an M.S. from the University of Minnesota Duluth in Integrated Biosciences, where she worked on a whole-lake manipulation project right here in Vilas County. It was during this time that Emily found her love for living in an area surrounded by lakes. Emily is inspired to work at the NLDC where all staff members and volunteers have immense passion for their work.

Contact Emily at water@discoverycenter.net for questions on: Water Program Events, AIS Coordination, Citizen Science, and Lakes Research

Annie McDonnell

Naturalist & Volunteer Coordinator 

Annie joined the Discovery Center in October of 2016. She earned a B.S. from Montana State University and moved to the Northwoods in the fall of 2014. She enjoys all of the outdoor activities that the area has to offer including; skiing, paddling, hiking, hunting, fishing and biking. Annie is motivated by the unique programs and experiences that the Discovery Center offers all of its guests and visitors, and is excited to be a member of the NLDC team. 

Contact Annie at annie@discoverycenter.net for questions on: program information, volunteer opportunities, citizen science project information, or other environmental inquiries.  

Our Mission

Our mission is to enrich lives and inspire an ethic of care for Wisconsin's Northwoods, through the facilitation of connections among nature, people and community.

Our Location

215 Highway W in Manitowish Waters, about one mile north of Highway 51 and County W

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