Cindy joined Driftless this past October, 2018 as the coordinator for the SW Grasslands Network. The SW Wisconsin Grasslands Network is a partnership project of federal and state agencies and local non-profit organizations all committed to the promotion of healthy grasslands, clean water, and thriving, working farms in SW Wisconsin. As the coordinator Cindy provides network support for partners, works with landowners to promote conservation practices, and implements an outreach campaign to raise awareness of grassland, savanna, and prairie habitat, flora and fauna.
Cindy comes to Driftless with 20 years’ experience as an inventory botanist and landowner educator. Cindy has traveled extensively via her career to experience the beauty of the United States. Local from 2008 – 2014, she worked for Blue Mounds Area Project as the outreach ecologist conducting landowner visits, and assisting with workshops and winter and summer events. During her time with the organization, BMAP established a rare plant monitoring program for private landowners, and developed and distributed the publication, “Reading the Driftless Landscape”. Concurrently, Cindy co-ran a small restoration business, conducting prescribed fires, follow-up botanical surveys, writing management plans, providing invasive forb and brush control services, and burning “lots of brush piles”. These years are invaluable learning experiences.
Most recently, she worked in the Siuslaw Watershed in coastal Oregon, the epicenter of the spotted owl controversy in the 1990’s. In many ways, she says, “it is a mosaic of cultures and socio-economic conditions that mirrors our own. Everything is not rosy, but the lesson is clear: to successfully protect natural resources, we also must support a living and working landscape. When I came back to the Driftless Area, I knew I wanted to be part of the team that works to preserve and protect the natural resources and the communities in this subtle, but beautiful landscape.”