As Restoration Manager, Cyndi leads a team of 7 who work to develop and implement education programs and hands-on activities to inform and engage the public in the restoration of the Rouge River in southeast Michigan. Under Cyndi’s direction, the restoration department has grown from a single-employee operation in 2008, with a $17,000 budget, to a staff of 7 with an annual budget of ~$560,000.
Through training courses such as Rain Gardens to the Rescue and Master Rain Gardner, rain garden design, and hands-on installations, Cyndi helps Detroit and Rouge Watershed residents reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows and urban runoff and even, as many participants proclaim, “…improve their quality of life!” Cyndi has installed over 100 rain gardens since 2011. Our annual river cleanup and stewardship event, Rouge Rescue, engages a wide audience in activities to improve the appearance, biodiversity, and health of the Rouge River. The event is FOTR’s founding event and is one of the largest river cleanups in Michigan.
In her 20 years with Friends of the Rouge, Cyndi has developed strong community partnerships. She regularly collaborates with the Sierra Club, St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center, Keep Growing Detroit, the Land + Water Works Coalition, Detroit Future City, Greening of Detroit, Eastside Community Network, EcoWorks, Alliance for the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation, Wildlife Habitat Council, Pure Oakland Water, Holliday Nature Preserve Association, Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy, Detroit Block Clubs, Houses of Worship across Detroit, and municipal and county government partners from across the watershed.
Cyndi values diversity and has made a sincere commitment to incorporating diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into her work. Cyndi is an alumna of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she attained her BA in Environmental Studies degree with a focus in Natural Resource Management and Policy.
While away from work, Cyndi enjoys camping on the shores of our Great Lakes with her husband and spending weekends with her 4-1/2-year-old grandson.