Board of Directors


The KWC Board of Directors is an elected board of 7 dedicated Wisconsin landowners that are committed to growing a cooperative that will continue to thrive and help manage the forests of children and grandchildren of current members.


The KWC membership is comprised of  landowners  that are excited to take an active role in management and eager to learn along the way. A sense of growing and learning together pervades the entire membership as they keep true to the basic premise of a cooperative.


We are proud of our accomplishments so far but we want to continue to expand the so we can be more effective and efficient for many generations.  KWC is gladly taking in new members as the message of sustainable forestry is growing in Southwest Wisconsin.

Board of Directors Contact Information

President: David Ware   608-634-3028

Vice President:  Toby Lee  608-567-9772

Treasurer: Paul Bajurny     608-386-2176

Secretary:  Joan Peterson    608-625-2794


Jean Bennet  608-0438-0760

Barry Ottman  262-308-3687

Adrian Amelse  608-639-0104


Main Office: Kickapoo Woods Cooperative
110 South Main
Viroqua WI  54665

Meet the Board of Directors

President: David Ware

David and wife, Tamsen, have lived for twenty years on 103 acres a few miles east of Westby. About 60 acres are wooded, most of which are enrolled in the Managed Forest Law. David planted 17 acres of overgrazed pasture into trees in the late ‘90s, and takes firewood as he thins parts of the forest. A few trees have gone into building projects around the property. For years, David grew and sold shiitake mushrooms from the ironwood he harvested from their woods. David served twelve years on the Board of the Viroqua Food Co-op, and is excited to bring that experience to bear on fulfilling the mission and potential of the Kickapoo Woods Co-op.

Vice President: Toby Lee

I grew up on a beef farm in Coon Valley, WI where I started planting trees nearly 50 years ago.  My interest in sustainable forestry increased when my wife and I purchased 80 acres of mostly wooded property near Wildcat Mountain in the mid-90s.  We’ve added adjacent parcels and now have about 120 acres of woodland in Vernon Co.  Some of the property is in MFL.   We own another farm in Monroe Co. with about 35 acres slowly transitioning from pasture to woodland.  I’ve managed three timber harvests on the properties and have implemented several timber stand improvement practices.  We plan on additional harvests when the market and conditions are favorable.  I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors and spend a great deal of time hunting my parents farm in Coon Valley and the woodland on our own properties.

My wife, Joan, and I have lived for the past 20 years in Tomah.  We have two kids, both graduates of UW (Madison) and both continued their education at UW (Washington).  Our granddaughter is two, and has already decided she will be a Doctor someday. I’ve made a career of mapping – first as a Geographer for the US Census Bureau and currently as a manager, mapping Canada for TomTom.


Secretary: Joan Peterson

I’m excited to join the KWC Board of Directors and look forward to meeting more of the membership.  I worked as an employment law attorney and human resources manager before my retirement in 2015.  Over the years I have served on several charitable and for-profit boards.  I first fell in love with the Driftless Region when I attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.  My husband Kurt and I bought our slice of paradise in La Farge in 2011, and moved here in 2016.  I want to be a good steward of the land,  and hope that my service on the Board will help other members do the same for their properties.

Treasurer: Paul Bajurny

I have been restoring my woodland in eastern Vernon County for the past 17 years. Through the educational events that the co-op has sponsored, I have broadened my woodland knowledge to the extent that I now harvest my own woodland.

Jean Bennett

Born and raised in WI (Madison), I’ve always been drawn to the outdoors. I spent 20 years raising beef cattle, hay, wheat, corn, and two kids on the prairies of northwestern South Dakota. It seemed so much of what we did involved trying to manipulate the land to be what we wanted ( fertile farm ground ) and not respecting what it is (native prairie and grassland). The poor yields, erosion and soil depletion were dismissed with “Gotta make a living”. Moving back to Wisconsin, with my partner Moe Sweeney onto 70 acres of wooded hills, Elk Creek, and meadows has been truly a move back to home. Land stewardship feels like home. Working with the land feels like home. That sweet spot between harvesting resources and sustainable land management definitely feels like home.

Most important are the people and friendships I have encountered since we moved back to the Driftless Area. The eclectic mix of people, their backgrounds, and their story of how they came to own land in SW Wisconsin are testament to the uniqueness of this place and the people who choose to live here. Serving on the board of KWC allows me the opportunity to interact with a larger group of landowners and neighbors that share common goals about the land we love and want to take care of.

Barry Ottman

Adrian Amelse

My association with KWC began several years ago shortly after we acquired eighty acres south of Gays Mills in Crawford County. The parcel is approximately 45-50 wooded acres with the balance in tillable. To better understand what we had, we joined KWC and had Thomas develop a management plan for our woods. As such, I am over educated and under employed and therefore have the time to devote to the organization. My wife and I live in McFarland, WI and have two boys-one a recent graduate from UW-Madison and the other child is somewhere on the sophomore/junior continuum.

Adrian grew up in Wisconsin and spent much of his free time hiking, fishing and hunting. Spending time in the outdoors became an important part of his life. In 2000, Adrian & Donna Amelse purchased 550 acres of forest and cropland in Vernon county. In 2001, we had a forest stewardship plan written for the property and joined the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative. Adrian has a keen interest in learning about forest management recommendations and sees the co-op as a terrific resource and is currently the Board President for the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative.


Interested in becoming a member of the Board of Directors? If so, we would love to hear from you!

The Kickapoo Woods Cooperative Board of Directors consists of seven members elected by the general membership. The term of service is three years and either two or three members are elected every year at our annual meeting in August. The Board meets one evening, usually the fourth Tuesday of each month.

The Board is seeking candidates for one position that is currently available. Please contact us for more information. 

The KWC BOD is primarily focused on operational aspects, mission and strategies of the Co-op. In our discussions and decisions we are always looking for ways to improve in the near term with a strategic eye on the future to enable the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative to grow and thrive for many years to come.

This is a brief description of the Board’s responsibilities, but if you are interested or have any questions about becoming a candidate, please feel free to contact one of our current board members directly or contact the KWC office: or call 608-606-5815