Intern supported by Mary Beth Doyle fund inspired by work at the Ecology Center
Devin Gill 'definitely combines Mary Beth’s passion . . . and her commitment'
Devin Gill, who has served as an intern and staff member at the Ecology Center over several years, will be taking her commitment to environmental stewardship to another continent early next month when she leaves for a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in Malawi.
“I'll be working in the environmental sector on a project to develop sustainability at the local level in partnership with the Malawian government,” Gill said. “I’m sure my work in Africa, with either the Department of Forestry or the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, will draw heavily on the outreach and community organizing skills I've worked to develop here at the Ecology Center.”
Gill’s first engagement with the Ecology Center was during her undergraduate days at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, when she served as a public policy intern with the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health. The MNCEH is a coalition of health professional, health-affected and environmental groups founded by the Ecology Center.
In that role, Gill helped organize lobbying and publicity campaigns aimed at influencing the state government.
“One thing that inspires me about working with non-profits is that you get to meet lots of smart people who bring their passion with them to work, and who truly engage in trying to better their communities,” Gill said. “Since my first day of work at the Ecology Center, I've been surrounded with people like that."
After earning a double bachelor’s degree from U-M, with a major in history as well as one in environmental studies with a specialization in environmental journalism, Gill became an AmeriCorps volunteer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
She served with the bureau’s field office in Elkins, W.Va., hiking through winding mountain trails to map infestations of invasive plant species, and then working to prevent their spread by building partnerships with landowners, government agencies and the Potomac Highlands community.
After her AmeriCorps year ended, Gill found herself back at the Ecology Center where she spent the fall working on connecting with candidates for the state legislature and providing them with information about environmental issues affecting children’s health.
In part, Gill’s position was supported by the Ecology Center’s Mary Beth Doyle Environmental Health Fund, which supports campaigns focusing on environmental health issues including clean air, safe consumer products, and women's and children's health.
Doyle was widely recognized as one of Michigan’s most prominent and effective environmental advocates, and just as well known for her exuberant and fun-loving personality. She was directing the Ecology Center’s environmental health campaigns when she died in a car accident in 2004.
“Mary Beth Doyle was my mentor, and my friend, and it has been terrific to see someone like Devin Gill step up to carry on the work that was so important to Mary Beth,” according to Rebecca Meuninck, the Ecology Center’s environmental health campaign director and coordinator of the MNCEH. “Devin definitely combines Mary Beth’s passion for the work and her commitment to making a difference, and she also reflects Mary Beth’s optimistic and infectious personality. We’ll miss her here.”
EcoLink — February 2013 Ecolink An online publication of the Ecology Center