About Us

What We Do

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 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.


Matt Demmon has been working outdoors since 2004. His experience includes organic farming; landscape design, installation and maintenance; native plant propagation; prescribed fire; invasive plant control; and botany. Matt works on the burn crew in the spring and fills in wherever needed, but his main interest is in designing and installing ecologically sustainable landscapes that feed wildlife and humans. Matt has a BFA (in photography!) and is a Certified Natural Shoreline Professional. He is a member of the Stewardship Advisory Committee for the Legacy Land Conservancy.  He enjoys cross-country skiing, bicycling, and growing and eating food in his spare time.


Ashley Schilling – Office Manager/Field Crew – Ashley began her educational career as a Music Therapy student at Eastern Michigan University and found herself graduating with a BS in Biology and a minor in Zoology.  Although Ashley doesn’t get to work with animals directly at PlantWise, working to keep native habitats healthy ensures all non-human animals will always have a place to thrive.  Ashley splits her time between the field and the office, translating the plans and proposed projects for our clients into the boots-on-the-ground work that gets the job done.

Before joining the PlantWise family, Ashley worked in the conservation field for 4 years in the Ann Arbor area.  She’s lead nature hikes and volunteer workdays focused on restoration and believes strongly that public outreach and environmental education are paramount to the success of our mission!

Ashley lives in Grass Lake, LOVES to grow things and dances whenever she can.


Cayla Tinney – Field Crew – 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) and loves swimming in lakes and rivers.

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!