Board of Directors


The KWC Board of Directors is an elected board of 7 dedicated Wisconsin landowners. It is a goal that the successors of the current leaders of the Co-op will help manage the forests of children and grandchildren of current members.

The KWC board of directors is a group of dedicated Wisconsin landowners and the membership is active and eager to learn. A sense of growing and learning together pervades the entire membership as they keep true to the basic premise of a cooperative.

The Co-op is pleased with its accomplishments so far but wants to expand and grow its ranks so it can be more effective and efficient for many generations. It is a goal that the successors of the current leaders of the Co-op help manage the forests of children and grandchildren of current members. 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:  Adrian Amelse   608-639-0104

Treasurer: Paul Bajurny     608-386-2176

Secretary: Jean Bennet

Barry Ottman

Scott Walter   608-576-6855

Toby Lee

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: Adrian Amelse

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.

Secretary: Scott Walter

Greetings! I am excited to be on the Kickapoo Woods Cooperative’s Board of Directors. I have a strong interest in the sustainable management of our natural resource base, and even stronger ties to the hills and valleys of the Kickapoo. I am the 6th generation Walter on my family farm near Viola, where I reside with my wife, and family. Much of my enthusiasm for nature, and my desire to live a “simple” life, developed on this farm, and I’m ecstatic to have called it home for the past 15 years. As a natural resource professional and former educator, I work daily to implement sound land use policy and proactive management programs, but it’s on our farm where I get to put the keyboard away, pick the chainsaw up, and put these ideas into practice. I actively manage the woodlands and open areas of our farm, hoping to leave my children a land-legacy of healthy forests and grasslands with an abundant and diverse wildlife community.

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

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.


How about becoming a member of the Board of Directors? We would love to hear from you if you are interested.

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 now soliciting possible candidates for one position that is currently open.

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 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 e-mail one of our current board members directly or contact the KWC office: or call 608-606-5815