Wild Ones Staff

Jen Ainsworth, Executive Director

Jen Ainsworth, Executive Director

Jen is responsible for accomplishing Wild Ones’ mission through management of staff, national programs, fundraising, chapter and membership development, and partnerships with other organizations. Jen has over 10 years of non-profit management experience in business operations, project management and continuous improvement. Jen graduated from Fox Valley Technical College with an associate’s degree in business management with a specialty and green belt certification in Lean and Six Sigma.

Katherine Freund, Chapter Liaison

Katherine is responsible for the development and operations of Wild Ones chapters in service to Wild Ones’ members, mission and the broader community. Katherine has been working with and volunteering on non-profit and government boards for over 15 years. She holds a Master’s of Library and Information Science from UW-Milwaukee. 

Crystal Helmer, Marketing & Communications Manager

Crystal is responsible for leading brand awareness and communications to grow Wild One’s image as a leader in the natural landscaping movement. Crystal has over 15 years of media and marketing experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Processes from UW-Green Bay. In her free time she trains for powerlifting competitions and helps at her family’s farm in central Wisconsin.

Rachel Checolinski, Administrative Assistant

Rachel Jaschob, Executive Assistant/Membership Coordinator

Rachel helps move Wild Ones’ mission forward by supporting Wild Ones Executive Director, Jen Ainsworth, staff, and the board of directors in a variety of ways that enable them to stay organized and be more productive. Rachel also is continuing to carry out many of her responsibilities from her former Membership Coordinator position including maintaining membership records, renewal systems, membership communications, membership benefits and membership program activities. Rachel has over 10 years of administrative assistant experience in a wide range of fields and over 14 years of customer service experience. Rachel has also provided mentorship to students and women in volunteer roles in agencies in her local community.

David Kryzaniak, IT Manager

David is responsible for all things technology from computers and email support for the national staff to the many Wild Ones websites. David is a WordPress Core Contributor and WordCamp Presenter and has 15+ years of experience building websites with WordPress. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UWGB in Information Science.

Josh Nelson, Development Director

Josh is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing the organization’s fundraising strategy. Josh holds a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation Administration from Illinois State University, as well as a master’s degree in Restoration Ecology and Habitat Management from the University of Idaho. Formally a Restoration Ecologist, Josh has spent the last 10 years working to restore native landscapes at the local level. 

Debbie Nowak, Chapter Liaison

Debbie is responsible for the development and operations of Wild Ones chapters in service to Wild Ones’ members, mission, and the broader community. Debbie has been working with government and non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She holds an Environmental Education and Interpretation degree from UW-Stevens Point and completed a certificate in non-profit management. She enjoys spending her free time outdoors hiking, kayaking, and camping. 

Lisa Olsen, Chapter Liaison

Lisa is responsible for the development and operations of Wild Ones chapters in service to Wild Ones’ members, mission and the broader community. Lisa has over 25 years of customer service experience and has volunteered for several conservation organizations, with a focus on environmental education and engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Santa Cruz in literature and is a Colorado Native Plant Master and Certified Nursery Professional.

Sara Ressing, Education and Program Coordinator

Sara is responsible for Wild Ones education and program administration, including strategy, development, reporting, and budgeting for programs such as the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grants, Native Garden Designs, Wild for Monarchs, Wild Ones Journal, and educational webinars. Sara’s educational background is in education administration and zoology. Her experience includes roles coordinating programming, academic support, teaching, and wildlife biology, to name a few. 

Deanna Sharp, Administrative Assistant

Deanna helps move Wild Ones’ mission forward by responding to member inquiries, assisting with program tasks, shipping literature and merchandise to chapters, etc. Deanna moved to Wisconsin from England in 2006 and has held positions in administration for the past decade including real estate and customer service.