Jaclyn “Jackie” Heikkila-Stafiej is a Restoration Coordinator at Friends of the Rouge focused on educating the public about rain gardens at presentations, events and during our Master Rain Gardener course, implementing the Rain Gardens to the Rescue program, and leading restoration activities in the Rouge watershed. Jackie joined Friends of the Rouge in mid-2018 as a Restoration Assistant helping with Rouge Rescue and has gone on to help teach several rain garden classes and installed many rain gardens across Southeast Michigan.
She graduated from Garden City High School in 2013 (where she was also introduced to FOTR through the REP) and went on to earn her Associates in Science at Schoolcraft College in 2015 and her Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University in 2018. Prior to working at Friends of the Rouge, Jaclyn was an intern with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitoring Piping Plover and bat habitats, an intern with the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy working on rare mammal research, a lab assistant at the MSU Museum working on carnivore skull development, and a 2016 Glassen Scholar while studying at Michigan State University.
Jackie is passionate about wildlife, improving natural habitats, and connecting people to nature. She has a particular interest in herpetology and wetlands because of their sensitivity and valuable role in the ecosystem. She loves to share her knowledge about the diversity of life on Earth and other strange science with friends and family. Jackie always encourages those close to her to think about their actions and what they can do to better the planet we all share. She loves to work on a team and lend a helping hand to whoever needs it.
Jackie has always known Metro Detroit as home, growing up in Garden City and after school living in Westland and buying a home in Dearborn in 2020 with her now husband Joe accompanied by their brown tabby cat, Yoruichi. She has had a lot of fun installing a rain gardens around her home, growing native plants and talking with Dearborn neighbors about what they can do too!