Board of Directors & Advisors

Jodi Trendler, Co-Founder
Executive Director

Jodi completed her Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) in 2012 through Midwest Permaculture and her Permaculture Teacher Training Certificate in 2017 at Cascadia Permaculture.  She also holds certificates in edible wild plants, bioregional herbalism, and Shinrin-yoku. She was the Founding Organizer of Naperville Green Drinks, served five years as Vice-President of the non-profit organization Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation, worked for the City of Naperville Renewable Energy Program, and was a member of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce Green Leadership Council. Prior to completing her PDC, she wrote and project led a state funded $10,000 Zero Waste grant for which she developed and implemented several waste reduction programs including full lunchroom and school wide composting, as well as initiated the PTA Environmental Committee and student Eco Club for her children’s elementary school.


Michelle Hickey, Co-Founder

Michelle was practicing permaculture before she knew the term and is thrilled to pursue it professionally after receiving her PDC from Midwest Permaculture in January 2013.  Michelle also holds certificates in edible wild plants, bioregional herbalism and Shinrin-yoku and has advanced forest garden design training. Since 2000 she has been on the permaculture path, collecting knowledge, experience, and contacts to get her to this point.  She brings over a decade of experience working in nonprofit and private sectors. She worked as the Program Director for Illinois Solar Energy Association, raising the level of service that ISEA provides to its members and the public with the initiation of new programs, collaborations, and advocacy. As the Project Manager for Seven Generations Ahead, she designed, implemented, and managed Green Remodeling and Zero Waste programs for schools, communities and events, and built relationships with municipal leaders to foster environmentally sustainable projects, programs and policies. For six years she was the Assistant Program Manager for the award winning City of Naperville Renewable Energy Program while owning and operating Bliss Essentials, an Aromatherapy and Yoga business. She has been very active in her community, co-producing the City of Naperville Recycling Extravaganza for three years, as a member of the Green Leadership Advisory Council for the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, community member of the City of Naperville Enviro-Link Committee, member of Naperville for Clean Energy and Conservation, and Steering Committee Member for Nutrition in the Schools, a branch of the Green Earth Institute.

Dave Eisley

Dave Eisley received his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2014 from The Resiliency Institute and was proud to help plant one of the first trees in The Whole Foods Market Edible Forest Garden. His initial desire to learn more about self-reliance turned into a realization that the most compelling way to transform the world is through building resilient communities.

Dave holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, is an Advisory Board Member for the Design Thinking Certificate Program at Rutgers University, and is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Aurora University Dunham School of Business and Public Policy.  He considers himself a lifelong student of Human Behavior and Systems Thinking, and it is not uncommon for him to cite Simon Sinek and Marcus Aurelius in the same conversation.  Dave believes that an awareness of the “Hero’s Journey” is the most important insight into the universal human mind - that which we all share in common.

Joe McElroy

Joe McElroy works at the crossroads of public policy and marketing communications, helping businesses, not-for-profit groups and public agencies "spread the word" about their products, accomplishments, and policy objectives. Trained as a city planner and as a journalist, he also served as a member of the Naperville City Council.

Amy Coffman Phillips

Amy Coffman Phillips is a mother, biomimic, architect, MBA, and facilitator who serves as one of nature's ambassadors to the human built environment. She bridges her love of nature and the creative process to create and facilitate engaging (nature-based) projects, from immersive education to built environment consulting. She is skilled at visual and verbal communication of complex ideas and has the unique ability to hold a strategic vision of a holistic system while managing the implementation process of multi-dimensional projects. To create future collaborators and change agents, Amy leads workshops, holds lectures, and offers biomimicry consulting services for clients looking to learn from nature to inspire sustainable, restorative human environments. Amy's particular expertise is increasing resilience in human systems and has co-created a "Naturally Resilient" workshop for business and non-profit leaders. Amy is also a co-founder of  Biomimicry Chicago, a local resource for those looking to learn from nature to design sustainably and restoratively. Through this local node of the  Global Biomimicry Network, she created The Prairie Project (an AskPlace initiative) advancing locally-attuned environmental performance standards for the built environment.  Amy is a Certified Biomimicry Professional, Illinois licensed architect, MBA, and  LEED AP BD+C. She will measure her success by raising great kids and inspiring others to (re)connect with the natural world by learning from Nature's genius.

Bill Weidner

Bill Weidner recently co-founded StraightForward Communications Inc., a business that provides consultation services and creates products to support conservation, education, recreation and personal health issues. He has over 35 years experience working with conservation, education and recreation agencies and nonprofit groups and has vast experience in program management including: personnel, grant writing, fiscal management, contract development and compliance, public relations, marketing, advertising and daily operations. Bill authored “The Complete Guide to DuPage County Trails”.  Bill is an alderman for the City of Warrenville and is active with many other community, conservation, recreation and health organizations. He is the former director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, holds a Master’s of Science in Outdoor Recreation Resource Management from Aurora University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the University of Denver. 

Jan Roehll

Jan is the DuPage County Program Director for The Conservation Foundation.  Through two grants, she worked with government agencies to develop an open space plan for DuPage County.  She is currently working with DuPage County Stormwater Management on their many programs, workshops and seminars to improve water quality in the county. 

Jan graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Landscape Architecture and spent several years working for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. She developed the master plans for the preserves and was responsible for the planning and development of the trail system.  She then transitioned into land acquisition.

Her love of the outdoors, hiking and biking in the preserves and parks, and gardening motivated her to begin working on a new initiative, Nature Rx, that encourages people to connect with nature. 


Peter Bane has published Permaculture Activist magazine for over 20 years and has taught permaculture design widely in the temperate and tropical Americas. He is a native of the Illinois prairie whose interest in good food and simple living led him at mid-life to become a writer and teacher of permaculture design. They also drew him into the arcane world of intentional community as fate presented the opportunity to help create and build Earthaven Ecovillage in the southern Appalachian Mountains. There he discovered his inner architect in the course of building a small off-grid solar cabin and later took on the more prosaic job of rehabilitating a pair of suburban ranch houses in the Midwestern college town of Bloomington, Indiana. That was the first step toward creating a small suburban farmstead where he now lives with his partner and apprentices. A prolific writer in journals and collections on forestry, building and all things sustainable, he consults with universities and municipal governments as well as for private landowners.


Fredric Miller_JJC_2013Dr. Fredric Miller is professor of horticulture in the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture Sciences at Joliet Junior College, a Senior Research Scientist – Entomology at The Morton Arboretum, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana where he is an instructor and faculty student advisor for the off-campus Master of Science horticulture graduate degree program.   He is currently also an Illinois Forest Health Specialist with the Illinois Department Natural Resources (IDNR) and USDA-USFS North Central Regional Office and is a Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA).  Dr. Miller is the author or co-author of over 30 peer-reviewed publications and over 100 popular and technical articles in regional and national publications.