We encourage any individual or organization invested in Vermont's youth, conservation, sustainability or just being outdoors to join us in our mission. There are volunteer opportunities, awareness events and lots of fundraising to do.
Machia Wilderness Camp is operated by several dedicated volunteers. Seven serve on the board of directors, instructors and cooks volunteer their time during camp and some do both! Click here to read about instructors and the camp program.
Bonnie Machia: Executive Director and Board Secretary
Bonnie holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Music Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum Development. She is a licensed teacher in K–12 music and elementary education. In 2015 Bonnie became a certified Master Gardener and developed the children's gardening program at Wheeler Park in South Burlington.
Bonnie taught in Chittenden County schools for 28 years, worked with the Rural Education Center, and with Champlain College students in career planning. She put these skills and experiences together to launch the Machia Wilderness Camp in July 2004 in memory of her late husband Larry.
Board of Directors:
Denis O'Brien: President
A successful film producer, Denis O'Brien has produced and directed movies, documentaries, TV commercials and corporate films for over 25 years. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Machia Wilderness Camp for over 12 years and in his third year as President of the Board, Denis has brought much enthusiasm to the Camp's future. When he is not working with iconic Hollywood stars such as Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane, Sophia Vergara or Sam Elliot, Denis enjoys spending time outside, skiing, coaching basketball, or finding solace on the lake at his home in Burlington.
Dennis Briggs: Director, Lead Instructor and Treasurer
Dennis is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and spent much of his career managing the competitive marksmanship program for the Vermont Army National Guard where he helped individuals and teams gain national recognition. He began hunting at age 11 and has traveled and hunted throughout the United States and Canada. Dennis spent five years as a licensed big game guide in Wyoming where he aided many hunters in locating pronghorn antelope, coyote, and mule deer. As a certified hunter education instructor, Dennis has trained over 800 youth and adults in safe, responsible, and ethical hunting practices.
Garth Peterson: Director
Garth Peterson, as a native Vermonter growing up in Waterbury, loved being in nature hunting and fishing. In his retirement years he continues to enjoy these activities. After graduation from UVM he served, for six years, as an officer in the Air Force. Following his service, he returned to Vermont, to work at UVM in the Treasurer’s and Controller’s Offices for thirty-one years. Garth served as Treasurer for the Machia Wilderness Camp from its inception in 2004 until 2017. He continues as an active Board Member.
Paul Conover: Director
Having served in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired as a Chief Patrol Agent in the U.S. Border Patrol, Paul brings years of experience handling and instructing the use of firearms. He has hunted and fished since he was a young boy. Paul holds Vermont certifications as a Hunter Education instructor of over 25 years, Bow & Arrow, and Let’s Go Fishing. He believes that pursuit of these outdoor activities provide a healthy path to understanding and enjoying our great outdoors.