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OUR TEAM:

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. 


 

Renae Reynolds, Community Outreach Associate

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. 


 

Daniel Borrero, Program Assistant

Daniel, now a sophomore at New York University, has been involved in RWA programming since 2010 when he was a sophomore in high school. During his time with RWA he learned to surf, kayak and took part in many of RWA's urban planning and community development projects which fostered his interest in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning which he is presently studying at NYU. Participating in RWA's various programs have helped him grow as a  person, and learn much about the natural environment in Rockaway. In his new position on the RWA team, Daniel is working hard to make sure the new Shore Corps youth members are as excited and engaged, as he was when he was a high school student in the program. He is also learning what it takes to build and maintain a healthy community organization.


 

Emily Bell-Dinan, Environmental Science Educator

Emily-Bell is a Queens native, who studied political science and history at Hunter College and is an alumn of the Aquatic Research Environmental Assessment Center (AREAC) 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, Transportation & Sustainability Educator

Daniel has delivered a hard to match energy and leadership to the RWA Global Exchange & Living Classroom Programs. As a nearby resident and biker focused on connectivity and safety, Daniel has become an activist taking street design and pedestrian safety issues to heart through his work promoting Project Underway. Currently he has spearheaded the Southeastern Queens Greenway to work with a growing number of community organizations and transit advocates towards better connecting parts of Queens and Nassau County Long Island. 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, Arts & Sustainablity 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  Urban Planning and Living Classroom Programs 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.


 

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.