About Us

Our mission at PlantWise is to provide the best possible restoration or landscaping services for our clients while doing the most ecological and aesthetic good for the sites in which we work. PlantWise, LLC is a business dedicated to creating, restoring, and interpreting native ecosystems and plant communities throughout Michigan, Ohio and northern Indiana. Towards that end, we work with private and public landowners to:

  • Develop management plans for maintaining or restoring natural landscapes;
  • Conduct prescribed ecological burns;
  • Complete invasive plant removal projects;
  • Manage remnant or created natural areas;
  • Design and install landscapes of all scales using native plant species;
  • Conduct plant and animal inventories;
  • Map existing ecosystems and natural communities;
  • Coordinate volunteer groups for planting or restoration work;
  • Conduct training for all aspects of natural area restoration;
  • Develop brochures and signage to help people understand and appreciate the natural features around them.

Who We Are

We are a small company, which means every person and every personality counts.

David Mindell


David founded PlantWise, LLC in 1998. He and the business are dedicated to creating and restoring native ecosystems and plant communities and working with people to bring native habitats into their yards and lives. David is the primary burn boss, oversees PlantWise’s invasive plant control projects, and ensures that the whole PlantWise operation is running smoothly.

Prior to PlantWise, David was the Stewardship Coordinator for the City of Ann Arbor’s Natural Area Preservation Division. He received a Master’s degree in Natural Resources (forest ecology and ecosystem management) at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

David lives with his family on the west side of Ann Arbor in a cedar-sided house surrounded by prairies, rain gardens, a large vegetable garden, and lots of solar panels. He enjoys the sunshine, running, playing his banjo, and trying to keep up with his kids.

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Cayla Tinney

Landscape Designer / Project Manager

Raised in northern lower Michigan near the mouth of the Jordan River, hard work outdoors and healthy native plant communities have always been an integral part of her home and culture. Her experience includes; landscaping, gardening, small scale farming, invasive plant control & surveys, prescribed burning, an education in art and design and an undergraduate degree in ecosystems management. Cayla has been with PlantWise since 2010.

Cayla also works as a visual artist. Check out her amazing work at www.caylatinney.com.

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Trenton Von Klingler

Crew Leader

Trenton has always loved Michigan’s parks and natural areas and is dedicated to their preservation. He has an Associate’s degree in Horticulture and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology (Natural Resources). He has been working professionally in ecological restoration and native landscapes since 2009. He also has experience propagating native grasses, forbs, trees, and shrubs. Trenton helps make sure projects in the field run smoothly and that the methods we use are effective.

In his free time, Trenton enjoys playing bluegrass music, reading, cooking and gardening. He loves plant identification!

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John Bujdoso

Field Crew

John graduated from Wayne State with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Geology. He enjoys gardening and germinating his own veggies and flowers. He’s a dog lover and in his spare time makes music and plays in a beer hockey league. One day he hopes to start his own environmental business and travel to Hungary to meet his relatives.

Cathy Mathews

Field Crew

Cathy grew to love nature and everything to do with the outdoors during her family’s trips to the Upper Peninsula. This led her to study wildlife management at Northern Michigan University and graduated in 2020. During her summers working for the Great Lakes Conservation Corps, she learned the importance of habitat to local wildlife and became dedicated to ecological restoration.

She found her love for travel and being immersed in different cultures while volunteering abroad during school breaks. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, playing with her dog, and volunteering in the local community when she gets the chance.

Olivia Horton

Field Crew

Olivia grew up with one of Michigan’s State Parks as her backyard. Through exploring this area as a child, she came to love nature and as she grew older, preservation of the natural world became one of her priorities. In 2015 she graduated from Alma College with a BS in Biology and an emphasis in Environmental Studies. Since graduating, she has worked for the Department of Natural Resources restoring habitat in State Parks, and in one of Michigan State University’s entomology labs, studying how bees use habitat around agricultural fields. Now a crew member of PlantWise she is happy to be doing field work whether it is landscaping or restoration based!

Olivia loves to travel. She has studied marine biology through scuba diving in Hawaii and she had the opportunity to study sloths in beautiful Costa Rica. Closer to home, she enjoys activities such as kickboxing, scottish dancing, and reading.

Sarah Rustic

Office Manager

Although Sarah’s education is in aviation, her true calling has always been to the outdoors. She spent nearly a decade living in a tent cabin while working and exploring in Yosemite National Park. After spending the next 5 years working for a biking and hiking adventure company in California, she and her family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan which they are happy to now call home. Sarah lives with her husband, child, and two rescue dogs and in her spare time enjoys gardening, cooking, camping, mountain biking, and hiking.

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Isaac Godshalk

Field Crew

Isaac grew up on a dairy farm in northern Indiana where he nurtured his love for the outdoors, birding, and fresh whole milk. This led him to a degree in environmental science with a focus on the restoration of natural systems. Since graduating, he has worked on restoration and conservation projects in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. He enjoys plant identification and natural history, both on the job and in his free time. Other pastimes include reading, long walks, singing, and cooking. Every flower he sees is the best flower he’s ever seen.

Caleb Gielczyl

Field Crew

Since a young age Caleb has always loved the outdoors. From standing on the banks of the river being swarmed by mosquitos as his dad would fly fish, to disastrous hikes through downpours. He knew he wanted to spend as much time outdoors as he could. He attended Indiana University and studied Environmental Science and History.

Caleb spent several years working for the National Park Service, working in upland restoration and wildland firefighting. He also spent three years teaching high school special education before returning to the environmental field. In his free time Caleb enjoys bikepacking and touring, building and fixing things, and spending time Up North with his family.

Sam Danko

Landscaping Crew Leader

Sam has always been “that nature guy.” His earliest memories are of landing tale-worthy fish, witnessing amazing birds, and taking in breathtaking views. Growing up, Sam didn’t know exactly what sort of career he’d want, he just knew that it had to be in nature.

It was during his education in environmental science at the University of Toledo that his hometown went through the infamous “Toledo Water Crisis,” an ecological event caused by excess farm runoff, algae, and atypical winds around Lake Erie, resulting in a three-day drinking water advisory affecting over 400,000 people. After the crisis, Sam started talking to his professors and classmates about taking action. With the help of an amazing departmental community, Sam formed a lasting student group of environmental advocates and led multiple initiatives to install rain and native plant gardens across campus.

During this time, Sam was amazed by all the volunteer support he received in these endeavors, as well as the general passersby interest. While building these gardens, students, teachers, and contractors for the school would ask, “What are you guys doing out here?” Sam realized how much he loved answering these questions, as well as the immense educational value in native plant landscaping.

His goal is to someday take his passion back to Toledo, where he hopes to work with the city and local farmers to help reduce runoff by using green stormwater solutions to help protect Lake Erie.

[email protected]

What Our Customers are saying


“Cayla and her team have been a pleasure to work with from the beginning. She put out ideas for us to consider, allowed us to choose the scope of work, and took time to explain the process and benefits of constructing a rain garden. We were very impressed with how much the team accomplished using only small tools and hard work. Throughout the process Cayla has been proactive in updating the project status and accessible whenever we had questions. We look forward to continuing additional phases of the work, and highly recommend PlantWise for anyone considering native and sustainable landscaping.”

Alex Epstein

Ann Arbor Resident

“PlantWise has conducted burns for the Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway since 2001. Their crew is very knowledgeable and always very professional. Our many properties pose challenges with boardwalks, buildings, wooded and aquatic habitats and they have always performed as promised – delivering safe and quality service. After 13 years of working with PlantWise we have seen a significant decline in invasive species on properties and an increase in native plant diversity. We highly recommend PlantWise as a quality resource for prescribed burning and habitat management.”

Travis Williams

Executive Director, Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway

“The PlantWise team has been reliably and safely burning our 2.5 acres since the spring of 2000, and we couldn’t be happier. With their annual burning, periodic consultation, and native landscape expertise (and some of our own hard work!), our own landscape has progressed by leaps and bounds towards greater plant and animal diversity. The window for burning can open and close quickly due to weather, thus communication from the burn team is key, and in this regard Plantwise has always excelled. They are efficient, friendly, and professional. Highly recommended!”

Rob French

Dexter Resident