Welcome to Friends Amy Heldman and Becky Lyons

Amy Heldman (left) and Becky Lyons.

Friends of the Chicago River welcomes two new team members who are expanding our resources and strategies for watershed planning and equitable partnership building across the watershed.

Amy Heldman joins Friends as our planning and GIS specialist, and Becky Lyons joins us as director of environment, equity, and engagement.

Heldman comes to Friends following a successful internship at Freshwater Future where she worked on educational safety initiatives about lead in drinking water. Heldman holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies/Affairs from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2021. A turning point in Heldman’s studies, which focused her career path, came about at the UIC Freshwater Lab where she created an art collage and story-telling piece, inspiring Chicago residents to reflect on their connection to Lake Michigan.

Lyons’ expertise lies in community development and educational programming. Most recently she created strategic partnerships at the Freshwater Lab where she launched the Backward River Festival to create connection, resource-sharing and inspire a reimagining and reconnection to the Chicago River. Prior to her work at the Freshwater Lab, Lyons served as the manager of child and family learning at the Lincoln Park Zoo. She is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois Chicago.