About

Healthy ecology, healthy community

Dam in stream

About UpstreamPgh

Climate change is having an impact across the globe. Here, in our urban environment, these shifts are felt in our neighborhoods, parks and backyards. This is why we work to combat the effects of it, from managing excessive stormwater flows, to pollutants in our water, soil and air, and to connect each other with the environment to create positive change. From large green infrastructure projects that divert and infiltrate thousands of gallons of stormwater to residential projects that keep basements dry while providing beautiful native landscaping, UpstreamPgh has become the region’s leading resource for water management. Our heritage in Nine Mile Run, coupled with hundreds of projects via StormWorks, provides our community with hands-on, brains-on solutions.

In 2021, to recognize our proactive approach to stormwater problem-solving and its impact across the region, we became UpstreamPgh. Together, we are working to address the environmental problems that are happening in our communities by thinking, speaking and acting upstream. We invite you to join us.

What we do
engage

We work to connect people with nature for a positive impact on the environment. From schoolchildren to municipal leaders, scientists to citizens, volunteers to homeowners, a healthy community starts with education, outreach and engagement.

Learn more about our initiatives and the projects that bring engagement to life.

advocate

Our watershed, our stream, our urban tree canopy, our ecosystem. They all deserve a voice. We work to advance new ideas that create change by advocating for policies and practices that further the health of our environment.

Learn more about our initiatives and the projects that bring advocacy to life.

plan/build

As a regional leader in stormwater management, we work with municipalities, homeowners, private organizations and public entities on services and infrastructure projects that are effective, environmentally responsible and yes, beautiful.

Learn more about our initiatives and the projects that bring plan/build to life.

Vision, Mission & Strategy
path next to stream

Vision

We envision a region with clean water accessible to all, healthy and resilient communities, and ecosystems restored to their natural functions.

Mission

We restore and protect our watershed ecosystem, while working regionally to support and implement resilient solutions for a healthier urban environment.

Strategy

Our 2024-2028 Strategic Plan advances our people-first approach to watershed restoration to uplift climate justice and connect people with the natural environment.

We feel the urgency of this moment: the increasing impacts of climate change are compounded by long-running racial and economic disparities. The complex water-related problems facing our region require complex solutions. We must think, act, and be “upstream,” addressing problems at the source, with intentionality and care for the downstream implications.

The priorities outlined in the strategic plan include innovative stewardship, environmental justice, systemic response, creative engagement, and capacity-building. We are working at the intersection of people and place, connecting residents with the natural environment, co-developing solutions alongside communities, and advocating for systemic change.

Learn more: 2024-2028 Strategic Plan

Team
Mike Hiller, Assistant Director, UpstreamPgh

Mike Hiller (he/him)

Executive Director

mike@upstreampgh.org

Mike Hiller was honored and grateful to take on the role of Executive Director for UpstreamPgh in January 2022. He previously served in the roles of Assistant Director and Director of Policy and Outreach for UpstreamPgh. He has over 15 years of experience working in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Mike is a systems thinker, passionate climate justice advocate, and Regenerative Practitioner who brings the frameworks and principles of regenerative development to UpstreamPgh. He prioritizes being inclusive and co-developing solutions that mimic living systems with the ultimate goal of integrating people, nature, and the built environment. Mike moved to Pittsburgh from upstate NY, where he received a Master of Arts in Geography with a Graduate Certificate in GIS + Spatial Analytics from the University at Albany. When not at work, he can be found with his wife, Haley, their son, Myles, and their rescue Pitbull, Billy. He stays busy renovating his 120-year-old house, studying and practicing permaculture, and hunting for the perfect slice of pizza. More than anything Mike is most at peace when he is surrounded by nature and encourages you to go outside and do the same as often as possible.

Kelsey Small, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, ENVIRONMENTAL FINANCE COLLABORATIVE

Kelsey Small (she/her)

Chief Financial Officer, Environmental Finance Collaborative

Kelsey Small is the shared Chief Financial Officer for the Environmental Finance Collaborative with financial responsibilities for four additional organizations: Allegheny County Conservation District, Construction Junction, Grounded Strategies and Tree Pittsburgh. Kelsey is responsible for providing strategic financial management and oversight for financial operations, accounting, financial analysis, reporting and planning. Prior to joining UpstreamPgh in 2019, Kelsey worked at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where she oversaw financial, fundraising and organizational planning initiatives. Kelsey holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. When not at work, Kelsey can be found hiking, gardening and enjoying sweet treats from her kitchen or other local bakeries.

Aaron Birdy PROGRAMS ASSISTANT

Aaron Birdy (he/him)

Plan/Build Manager

aaron@upstreampgh.org

Aaron joined UpstreamPgh as an intern in January of 2020 after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a certificate in GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of Pittsburgh. With a focus in GIS and a passion for sustainable infrastructure, Aaron found a perfect fit at our organization working on a GIS study that highlights locations for green stormwater infrastructure projects within our watershed through an environmental justice lens. Aaron joined the team full time in October of 2020 as our Programs Assistant helping with Communications, GIS, Monitoring and Residential GSI programs. Outside of work, Aaron likes cooking vegetarian meals, tasting local craft beers, biking and exploring the three rivers with his partner, Lauren.

Leslie Centola, COMMUNITY, ORGANIZATION, AND SOCIAL ACTION (COSA) INTERN

Leslie Centola (she/her)

Advocacy Manager

leslie@upstreampgh.org

Leslie joined UpstreamPgh in the fall of 2020 as an intern from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work’s Community Organizing & Social Action (COSA) program. After obtaining her MSW, she joined our team as UpstreamPgh’s first Community Organizer and continues to develop the Climate Justice Collaborative (CJC), advocating for climate resilient communities. Leslie grew up on the coast of North Carolina but spent most of her adult life in Asheville, North Carolina. She brings over 15 years of experience in the human services sector working with youth, adults, and families providing case management, Intensive In-Home therapy, and hospice services. In her free time, she enjoys being in nature, music, knitting, gardening, and traveling.

Ryan Ferrebee (he/him, they/them)

Development Manager

ryan@upstreampgh.org

Ryan Ferrebee joined UpstreamPgh as Development Manager in July 2023. So far in their career, Ryan has raised over $15 million in support of nonprofit organizations. He previously worked in the arts sector, serving most recently as Director of Institutional support for Pittsburgh Public Theater downtown and Development Officer for Institutional Funding at City Theatre Company on the South Side. Ryan is responsible for all aspects of fundraising for UpstreamPgh, including grant writing, special events, sponsorships, and individual giving. They hold a master’s degree in Theater with a focus in arts management from Louisiana Tech University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from West Liberty University. In their spare time, Ryan enjoys reading, hiking, and scouring the local area for Mid-century Modern furniture and decor.

Keith Moore (he/him)

Ecosystems Programs Assistant

keith@upstreampgh.org

Keith began at UpstreamPgh in September 2022 to assist with our ecosystem maintenance and monitoring. He currently works with our Urban EcoStewards in an effort to keep the watershed well managed. Being a Pittsburgh native, Keith has lived in the city his whole life and studied at Chatham University learning about sustainability and ecology. Keith’s background in sustainability focuses on natural resource management and urban systems. He also has an interest in native forestry and combating invasive species. Outside of work, Keith enjoys hiking, cooking, photography, traveling, and caring for all kinds of plants, both indoors and outdoors.

Erica Jackson (she/her)

Community Engagement Manager

erica@upstreampgh.org

Erica leads UpstreamPgh’s Engage Program, which includes environmental education, volunteer projects, event planning, and community outreach. Before joining UpstreamPgh in 2023, her work focused on addressing the impacts of fossil fuel development in the Ohio River Valley region. She has also held various environmental education and research positions. Erica grew up in Columbus, Ohio and received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Pittsburgh with a minor in Spanish. Outside of work, she loves to explore Pennsylvania’s creeks and discover new parts of Pittsburgh as well as make art.

Sarah Carr (she/her)

Operations & Communications Manager

sarah@upstreampgh.org

Sarah joined UpstreamPgh as Operations & Communications Manager in May of 2024. A Regent Square native, Sarah previously managed Events & Marketing at 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. and has a passion for community building through events. Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree in Media & Professional Communications from the University of Pittsburgh, and has nearly 15 years of experience working in Pittsburgh’s nonprofit and small business sectors. In her free time, Sarah enjoys working on her house, hiking, climbing, disc golf and escaping into nature with her dog, Portland.

Board of Directors

We are deeply grateful for the many community members who have generously given their time and talents over the last 20 years as member of our Board of Directors. Board members can serve two consecutive three-year terms, during which they oversee and support UpstreamPgh operations, determine the future strategic direction of the organization and bring a variety of resources to support our work.

We are always looking for candidates with experience and skills in financial management, fundraising, law, small business, environmental science, engineering and landscape architecture. We are striving to achieve greater racial diversity to better reflect the population of our communities.

2022 Board of Directors

Claudia Saladin, President
Senior Project Manager
evolve environment::architecture

Yvonne James, Vice President
Owner
James Floral

Ana Bennett, EIT, Secretary
Associate Project Manager
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Robin Ryan, CPA, Treasurer
Senior Manager, Assurance Services
Grossman Yanak and Ford

Douglas Baker
Attorney
Reed Smith

Alex Ball
Engineer (Retired)
Westinghouse

Tom Batroney P.E., C.F.M.
Senior Engineer
HDR

Dan Cody
Director of Leadership and Legacy Giving
Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh

Marion T. Divers, PhD, PG (PA)
Community Planner
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Divya Rao Heffley, PhD
Associate Director
Shiftworks Community + Public Arts

Neoshe Jenkins
Community Outreach & Intervention Specialist
Center for Victims

Adam Kidane, GISP
GIS Asset Management Specialist
ALCOSAN

Rayden Sorock
Director of Community Projects
Grow Pittsburgh

Janis Tucker
Senior Vice President,
The PNC Financial Services Group

NaTisha Washington
Communications Manager
Breathe Project

Michael Hiller, ex officio
Executive Director
UpstreamPgh

Kelsey Small, ex officio
Chief Financial Officer
Environmental Finance Collaborative