Mission Statement

The Red Oak Rain Garden (RORG) is a landscape that celebrates rain, invigorates the campus and community educational experience, and promotes well-being.


Established in 2006, the RORG is the first rain garden on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. It is time for a renovation to improve both aesthetics and functionality. The RORG Team is managing the design and build of the project, which is expected to happen in the summer and fall of 2019. RORG is supported by SSC and others and is part of the Illinois Climate Action Plan.

Located between Allen Hall and McKinley Health Center, RORG provides flood protection, improves water quality, and promotes ecological health and enjoyment. Prior to the garden, rainstorms limited sidewalk use and impaired the red oak. The updated design will enhance the garden’s ability to soak up stormwater runoff in a beautiful, educational way.

Meet the RORG Team

The RORG team is an Illinois Extension team based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This dedicated, multidisciplinary team works on a range of water quality projects like the RORG renovation.

Eliana Brown

Water Quality Specialist

Eliana Brown is the stormwater specialist with IISG and Illinois Extension ANR. She is involved with the implementation of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. Her areas of expertise are the regulatory aspects of wastewater and stormwater programs and green infrastructure. She has a Master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois where she worked as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (or MS4) coordinator. She is also a LEED AP, NGICP, and a certified Master Gardener. 

Kate Gardiner

Social Media and Communications

Kate Gardiner has a Bachelor’s degree in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability from the University of Illinois. She assists in the implementation of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy. In addition to her work with the state’s nutrient strategy, she is a social media expert and regularly shares project updates and green infrastructure ideas via the RORG social media pages.

Layne Knoche

Landscape Designer

Layne Knoche is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture. Aside from his work in landscape design, he is also interested in the conservation, preservation, and restoration of large and small-scale environmental systems and the integration of social, aesthetic, and educational aspects within them.

Irenka Carney

Graphic Design and Illustration

Irenka Carney is an Artist and Designer with a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Illinois. Irenka has a range of education and outreach experience focused on environmental education with a focus on rain gardens and storm water quality. One of her stormwater projects is a mural on the UIUC campus outside Talbot Laboratory showcasing the ecology of Boneyard Creek.

John Cambiazo

Videography and Graphic Design

John Cambiazo is a huge nerd and cycling enthusiast with a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Illinois. He has experience in education curriculum support as well as audio/video, web, and outreach work. He recently completed the training portion of the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program which has opened his eyes to the value of projects like the Red Oak Rain Garden.

Eric Green

Construction Project Manager

Eric has a Master’s degree from the NRES department at the University of Illinois.  He is formally trained in applied economics and passed his preliminary examination on community theory. Eric has overseen and participated in the construction of 7 residential rain gardens in the Champaign-Urbana area. He led 3 teams of undergraduate students from design to implementation of those gardens.  His other teaching included Natural Resource Economics and applied social science methods in Champaign watersheds. The data captured from the applied courses has been presented to the City of Champaign and neighborhood groups on residents’ perceptions of flooding issues and green infrastructure.

Tony Heath


A Professional Engineer and a recent graduate of the Masters of Urban Planning program at University of Illinois, Tony specializes in green infrastructure planning and design. In addition to the Red Oak Rain garden, Tony has been involved with both private and public green infrastructure projects across the Midwest and Southeast since 2013.