The Resiliency Institute is an educational nonprofit focused on inspiring others to integrate permaculture into their lives.  We are dedicated to offering classes, workshops, field trips, and demonstrations taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors. Our faculty bring a diverse range of skills and knowledge into each class.


Pat Armstrong

Pat Armstrong
Founder, Prairie Sun Consultants

Patricia Armstrong has a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago in Ecology (Biology-Botany). She previously taught multitudes of nature classes at the Morton Arboretum for 16 years, plus Botany, Ecology, and Geology at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and Michigan State University's Juneau Icefield Research Program in Alaska.

Pat's knowledge and understanding of all things wild and free comes from a life-long personal and intimate relationship with Nature that is passionate as well as scientific. She lives in a home she and her husband designed and built to fit into the natural ecosystems of northern Illinois. It is active and passive solar, energy-efficient, and landscaped with over 300 species of native trees, shrubs, prairie grasses and wildflowers approximately 40% of which are edible. Pat is actively involved in living joyfully with Nature. She runs a consulting firm, PRAIRIE SUN CONSULTANTS, to educate and assist others in appreciating and using native plants and wild edible plants in home landscaping.


Allison Mitch
Ecologist, Physical Therapist, Reiki Practitioner, Professor, Yoga instructor

Allison is a physical therapist and healing arts practitioner (yoga, reiki), ecologist, part time professor, and mom – an eclectic professional and personal mix that birthed her own WILD woman through the recognition of the connection and depth with all of life. In her circles, she seeks to create a sacred and inviting space for self-reflection, meditation, healing, and reconnection with nature for the return of soulfulness, or “re-wilding”.  Allison is also committed to increasing the connection of her community with nature by offering family-friendly nature excursions (Naperville Family Nature Club, Free Forest School, and children’s gatherings) in Naperville.  Allison offers one on one sessions for fitness, wellness, prevention, and holistic health, using therapeutic exercise, soft tissue mobilization, yoga, meditation, and/or reiki, depending on the client’s needs.  For more information, visit her website www.wildwomaninthesuburbs.com or find her on Facebook @wildwomaninthesuburbs


Dave Odd
Owner, Professional Forager, Odd Produce

Dave Odd grew up in Skokie, Illinois just a couple blocks away from a 13-acre nature park called Emily Oaks. He spent many of his summers catching frogs and turtles around the pond, and on fishing trips with his brother. He was absolutely fascinated and obsessed with the natural world. He also loved cooking and being in the kitchen, so when a friend's mother introduced him to the art of foraging it was a natural fit. Dave foraged and hunted mushrooms as a hobby for years and now supplies over 200 Chicago area restaurants with over 500 ingredients, hundreds of wild products, and hundreds of greenhouse and garden products.


Jackie Reeves
Shinrin-yoku/Forest Therapy Certified Guide

Jackie has a Master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She is a certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, and completed her certification with the Association for Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs in November of 2017.  Jackie incorporates her strong listening skills, compassion and practice of acceptance into her approach as a guide.  The opportunity to practice Nature and Forest Therapy has allowed Jackie to bring together her love for nature with her ability to assist others in their growth process.



ellyn-schmitzEllyn Schmitz

Ellyn is an avid student of nature, particularly edible and medicinal plants, and the philosophy of living close to the earth.  She helps others discover and deepen their connection to the healing power of plants and nature.

She has studied extensively for over 20 years with Tom Brown Jr., a world-renowned tracker and wilderness survival expert, who was taught the ancient arts of living close to the earth by a Lipan Apache medicine man. She continuously studies with numerous edible and medicinal plant experts including, Karen Sherwood, Kathleen Wildwood, Richo Cech, Paul Bergner, Matthew Wood, Christopher Hobbs, 7Song, and others.

She is a member of the Keepers of the Plant Wisdom Medicine Society, has served on the board of directors for Medicine Waters Conservancy since 2001, and actively participates in United Plant Savers herbal conferences. Ellyn holds certificates from the Resiliency Institute in Edible Wild Plants and Bioregional Herbalism.


Jodi Trendler
The Resiliency Institute 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.


Forest-Yoga-Marie-ZubinskiMarie Zubinski
Massage Therapist, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Yoga Instructor,
Permaculture Designer, Forest Therapy Guide (in-training)

Marie's passions are nature and healing.  She has been teaching yoga since 2011, is a life-long Naturalist, Native Landscaper, and Certified Permaculturist.  She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and Cranial Sacral Therapist, so her classes are alignment based, with a focus on deep release. She is also training to be a Forest Therapy Guide. Nature is where she feels home and alive.