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From naturalists to film makers, educators to designers, our staff is comprised of experts from many different fields under a common purpose; connecting people to the natural environment.


Jeanne DuPont, Executive Director

As Founder of the RWA, Jeanne has worked closely with the Rockaway community and city agencies in developing strategies to redevelop large stretches of neglected waterfront in the Rockaways. Much of her work has involved utilizing the waterfront itself through programming and advocacy with youth to protect public waterfront access. Jeanne has a Masters Degree in Design from Yale University.


John Cruz, Program Director

Born and raised in New York City, John is a Rockaway resident with a passion for community development and empowerment.  With much experience in the public sector, John has spent the majority of his professional career as a community organizer and has over 10 years experience in youth development.  John is no stranger to service work as he has given back to his global community by tackling social issues in over 15 countries around the world.  John has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Pace University. 


Ana Fisyak, Planning & Development Associate

As an urban planner dedicated to a community-based approach, Ana has previous years experience doing community advocacy and technical assistant provision for New York City communities. Before joining RWA, Ana was a planner at WXY Architecture & Urban Design where she worked on the Rockaway Parks Conceptual Plan. She is  a public space advocate and co-edited Beyond Zuccotti Park (New Village Press, 2012) and curated From Zuccotti to Taksim: Negotiating the Right to the City through Public Space (Pratt, 2013). Ana has a Masters Degree in Science/City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute. 


Emily Bell-Dinan, Program Educator

Emily-Bell is the newest member of the RWA team. A Queens native, Emily-Bell studied political science and history at Hunter College and is an alumn of the Aquatic Research Environmental Analytics Center at Brooklyn College. As the former Compost Project Coordinator at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Emily-Bell has a love and dedication for teaching New Yorkers how to keep their city growing green. Having served with Million Trees NYC, Solar One, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, she is well experience working with environmental non profits leading programs for local youth. In her free time, Emily-Bell is found with her dog, Weegee, gardening at the Roger That Garden Project in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. 


Daniel Solow, Living Classroom Educator

Daniel is a newly minted member of the team. He has delivered a hard to match energy to the Living Classroom and Rockaways as a whole. He also works with struggling readers in reading literacy. After working alongside RWA for Project Underway he has become an activist taking street design and pedestrian safety issues to heart. Currently he is working with a growing number of community organizations towards revitalizing the Southeastern Queens Greenways. He studied both in Geneseo, NY for his Bachelors in Geography and Groningen, the Netherlands as an exchange student at the University of Groningen.


Heather Kramer, Living Classroom Educator

Heather currently resides in Rockaway, where she cofounded the organization, Arts in Parts to remind children and adults alike that there is much to learn and enjoy about the plants, animals and waters that surround us. Heather is a firm believer that nature is the best teacher and muse. But it seems as if technology is creating a gap between us and the lessons of the natural world. Heather is an educator for RWA's Living Classroom Program where she has the opportunity to share her love of arts and the environment to teach young children about their local surroundings. Heather has a Masters Degree in Film Production from NYU.


Renae Reynolds, Planning & Development Intern

As a Rockaway resident, Renae is very involved in civic engagement and her past experience working at Fresh Youth Initiatives and Public Allies has been helpful in integrating RWA youth in the planning and advocacy for a more sustainable community in the Rockaways. Renae is presently completing her graduate studies in Urban Theories at Parsons/New School. 


Success Stories:

Meet Jadel

In 2007, Jadel participated in her first RWA program as a 7th grader at PS43. Through high school she has been a valuable contributor to our ongoing efforts and today she continues to work with us as a practicing intern while she attends college. Hear more about Jadel's story.