Someone to Know: Cindy Hedges

Stewardship program coordinator Cindy Hedges delights in providing opportunities for volunteers to work in forest restoration and study the diversity of nature. She empowers residents to volunteer and help take care the county’s natural habitats. If you ask Hedges what her favorite thing is about her job, she’ll tell you “everything.” You can find her hiking, biking or horseback riding throughout the DuPage forest preserves. 

What are your responsibilities as the stewardship program coordinator for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County?
I work with volunteer stewards and staff assisting in the restoration management of the District’s natural areas. I also facilitate several volunteer monitoring programs of plants, animals and invertebrates and manage the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve

What did you study in college? How do you use that knowledge in your career?
I studied biology, ecology, botany, microbiology, wildlife biology and related coursework. I use basic scientific principles, such as life cycles, taxonomy, animal and plant life, and the interrelationships in their natural environments. 

What is your favorite DuPage County forest preserve? Why?
Wood Dale Grove is my favorite preserve. This preserve is located in the northeastern section of the county, where urban expansion and development is common and open space is rare. Wood Dale Grove connects to Oak Meadows Golf Course, Salt Creek Park and is near  Fischer Woods, which creates a vast open space filled with diverse habitats. I especially like this preserve because it is close to my home and offers a place of refuge for people, plants and wildlife. It also offers a place for families to picnic, visitors to fish, and hikers and bikers to walk or ride on a gravel trail that loops through a beautiful savanna. To me the most important piece is the Wood Dale Grove wild side, which is full of diverse habitats, including a sedge meadow, savanna and mesic woodlands with ephemeral ponds that support rare plants and animals. 

What are your personal interests? Do you have any nature-related hobbies?
I like to study nature, grow native plants, travel and help people, as well as volunteer in the community and in my parish. I love doing just about anything outdoors, including hiking, camping, horseback riding, boating and gardening.

How do you make a difference in DuPage County?
By empowering volunteers, matching their passions, talents and energy to the goals and mission of the District, and ensuring their contributions are put to good use. I try to live responsibly by recycling, reducing waste, planting a native landscape at home, and volunteering in the forest preserves, my parish and the Boy Scouts of America.

What three words best describe you?
Diverse, compassionate and open-minded.

What inspires you in nature?
So many things. I love the natural beauty and complexity of living organisms and their unique qualities, and how even the smallest organism can be important, interconnected and fit in a complex world.   

What do you like most about your job? What makes it special?
Everything. I like working with living organisms, including people, plants, insects and animals. I like challenges and working out solutions to problems. I like making a difference on landscapes, preserving species and sustaining diverse habitats that support a wide range of species, resulting in healthier systems that benefit every living thing and will hopefully be around for future generations to continue to enjoy. 

Someone to Know: Dan Hebreard

District ranger loves sharing his passion for nature with visitors.

Someone to Know: Wayne Zaininger

As site manager for Danada Equestrian Center in Wheaton and St. James Farm in Warrenville, Zaininger's work is centered on horses and the people who care for them.

Someone to Know: District Ecologist Dan Thompson

District ecologist has the perfect job to feed his love of nature and wildlife.

Someone to Know: Fullersburg Woods Volunteer Joan Schultheis

Retired teacher taps her love of nature at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center.

Someone to Know: Wayne Hill

Wayne Hill gets to step back in time in his role as heritage interpreter at Kline Creek Farm, an 1890s living history farm in West Chicago.

Someone to Know: Mark Dyer

Mayslake Community Outreach Specialist Mark Dyer wears many hats while helping ensure the numerous nature and cultural programs run smoothly at the Oak Brook estate.

Someone to Know: Austin Kopp

Golf Services Supervisor Austin Kopp makes sure every trip to the District's three golf course is on par with customer's expectations.

Someone to Know: Leigh Korreck

Willowbrook naturalist Leigh Korreck loves being able to connect people to nature and help them learn how to live in harmony with native wildlife in DuPage County.

Someone to Know: Dennis Buck

How would you like stepping back into a different century every day at work? That's what Kline Creek Farm heritage interpreter Dennis Buck does each day.

Someone to Know: Kim Riehm

From taking calls to reserving a picnic shelter to answering questions about forest preserves, no two days are alike for Visitors Services staff assistant Kim Riehm. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Someone to Know: Cindy Hedges

Cindy Hedges is all about connecting people to nature in her role as stewardship program coordinator. She also oversees the District's volunteer monitoring programs and the Native Plant Nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve.

Someone to Know: Kendra Strubhart

As Mayslake's heritage interpreter, Kendra Strubhart is responsible for programming at the historic Oak Brook mansion.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Chris Aquino

When he's not teaching cinema studies at Wheaton Warrenville South High School, he's helping folks hone their photography skills at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Fred Drury

Award-winning photographer Fred Drury brings his 50-plus years of photography expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Hank Erdmann

Hank Erdmann specializes in nature photography, especially in the midwest. His primary areas of interest include midwestern prairies and hardwood forests.

Someone to Know: Mayslake Photo Instructor Will Clay

Will Clay's photography has been published in nine books and numerous natioanl publications, and now he brings his photographic expertise to you through his photography classes at Mayslake Peabody Estate.

Someone to Know: Eric Poggenburg

No two days are alike for ranger Eric Poggenburg, who enjoys connecting to nature even on his days off.

Someone to Know: Dr. Jennifer Nevis

Willowbrook staff veterinarian fuels her passion for animals and mentoring.

Someone to Know: Nikki Dahlin

District naturalist Nikki Dahlin's love of bugs may have started by accident, but it's been fueled by passion.

Someone to Know: David Sima

Senior ranger David Sima leads programs that teach skills for enjoying the great outdoors.

Someone to Know: Stephanie Touzalin

Wildlife enthusiast and artist Stephanie Touzalin is a naturalist at Willowbrook.

Someone to Know: Ron Skleney

Naturalist Ron Skleney loves birds and heads up our raptor program at Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

Someone to Know: Natural Resources and Grounds Management Crews

Our crews manage invasive and nonnative vegetation over the coldest months of the year.

Someone to Know: Chris Gingrich

Get to know Education Outreach Specialist Chris Gingrich.

Someone to Know: Marty Jandura

Ranger Marty Jandura is an avid fisherman and offers up some fishing tips.

Someone to Know

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