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Our Team

Jo Swanson
Executive Director

Jo (she/her) is thrilled to join NVC. She has a background in nonprofit trail administration, most recently working for the Superior Hiking Trail Association where she loved meeting amazing volunteers and dedicated land-managing partners. She began her career accidentally, when she signed up to volunteer on a trail project and just kept coming back. She is a long-distance hiker, Wilderness area collector, and camps at least 52 nights per year. She is based out of Two Harbors and regularly explores the Superior National Forest. She hopes to meet you on a project soon!

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Sally Ferguson
Former Executive Director

Sally (she/her) brings 25 years of nonprofit management experience to NVC.  During this time, she has worked with many land management agencies across the western states to build strong volunteer stewardship programs that benefit wilderness and surrounding wildlands. Sally is a constant hiker, periodic backpacker and committed winter sports enthusiast who explores backcountry and Wilderness trails as often as possible.

Sandy Skrien
Board Chair
Duluth, MN

Sandy currently works as Lead Recruiter and Program Specialist for NEW Solutions, a national nonprofit that hires people age 55 and older to work for the Forest Service part time.  She retired from the US Forest Service as the National Wilderness Program Manager for the Forest Service in Washington, DC after 40 plus years with the agency.

Sandy grew up at the end of the Gunflint Trail and began her career on the Superior National Forest writing wilderness permits, working as a wilderness ranger, winter and summer trails crews and YCC crew leader. She spent 20 years in the Tongass National Forest, then returned to the Superior National Forest to be the Public Service Team Leader for eight years before serving at headquarters in DC. 

She has a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies from St. Cloud State.

Sandy lives in Minnesota with her husband Wayne and yellow labs Cedar and Juniper. They have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in various states. Sandy and her husband enjoy boating, fishing, gardening and wood carving.

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Andy Jenks
Board Treasurer
Stillwater, MN

Andy serves on the Board of the Northwood Volunteer Connection and has over 40 years’ experience in outdoor navigation. Andy teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Position Systems (GPS). He serves as the President of the Banadad Trail Association, a major cross-country ski trail along the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, MN. Andy also serves on the Board of the John Francis Foundation, a non-profit which focused on wilderness safety education and rescue. He is an avid wilderness paddler and kayaker with many wilderness trips in the US and Canada.

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Rory Anderson
Board Member
Lutsen, MN

Rory (she/her) discovered her passion for connecting people to nature on her first canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness during college. Since then, she's built a career in state environmental policy and environmental education. She received a B.A. in Biology from St. Olaf College and a Master’s Certificate in Environmental Education and Sustainability from Antioch University New England. She grew up on the prairie in western Minnesota but has come to call the Northwoods home, where you can find her reading, identifying lichens on hikes, or swimming in Lake Superior.

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John Wytanis
Board Alumni - Past Board Chair


After 32 years with the US Forest Service, John retired in 2013 having last served as Tofte District Ranger on the Superior National Forest. Since retirement, John spends as much time as he can outdoors enjoying more fishing, hiking, camping, skiing, sailing, and volunteering for just about any cause or need.  John was instrumental in getting Northwoods Volunteer Connection up and running. 

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Chris Johnson
Board Alumni - Past Board Member


Chris works in the IT industry as a technical project manager. She enjoys fishing, hiking, gardening and other projects/activities that provide opportunities to spend time outdoors. Chris is especially fond of Northeast MN and enjoys spending time on the Gunflint Trail. Chris previously volunteered on trail maintenance projects with Northwoods Volunteer Connection and the Banadad Trail Association.  She served as Secretary from 2020-2022.

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