Tuesday, March 18, 2014

5 Questions with...MAEOE's Maryland Volunteer Coordinator Gabrielle Cantor!

GabrielleGabrielle Cantor joined MAEOE in October as Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. She has supported more than 60 Green Leaders as they work with schools wanting to participate in the Maryland Green Schools program and with Md Green Schools who will recertify. Gabrielle began her work with MAEOE as an AmeriCorps alum. She recently finished a year with the AmeriCorps Water Quality Team in Knoxville, TN.  Through this opportunity she worked on a variety of environmental initiatives including watershed service-learning education, local environmental outreach projects, volunteer management at stream clean-ups and biological monitoring.  In May 2012 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a degree in Biology and minors in Environmental Studies and Spanish.  She is passionate about preserving nature and while at St. Mary’s volunteered with the Great Falls National Park and St. Mary’s Environmental Action Coalition. 

Gabrielle is an extremely ambitious, hardworking, sharp young woman who has been a great addition to MAEOE! Check out her interview below to learn a little bit more about her. 

1. What are your responsibilities as the Volunteer Maryland coordinator at MAEOE?
My responsibilities as Volunteer Maryland Coordinator include the recruitment, training and management of Green Leader, Conference, Youth Summit and Application Review Volunteers.  This includes the setting up and running of trainings, publicizing events and general organization of the volunteer program.  I also put together the newsletter, help update the website, answer questions about the green schools program, helped with Conference registration and other tasks as assigned.
2. What skills have you acquired since joining MAEOE in October?
I learned how to market our program in order to recruit volunteers or inform the public.  This helps me network with other professionals and spread the message about the importance of environmental education.  I have learned to manage over 200 volunteers whether remotely or on location at an event.  Although I did some episodic volunteer management in my last position, organizing these volunteers is on a much larger scale and for the Green Leader Program is over a longer period of time.  I learned about planning small and large events.  We planned the MAEOE conference, Green Leader trainings, Green Leader Appreciation events and have started organizing both the Application Review, Application Review Training and the Youth Summit.
3. Describe the role that MAEOE fills in the environmental education movement.
MAEOE makes connections between teachers, non-formal educators, environmental organizations and school/county administrators.  The green schools program identifies green efforts in schools and encourages a shift to a green culture.  Schools become immersed in environmental education, seek outside resources and change the attitudes of Maryland Students.  The Conference helps connect teachers with other professionals directly and professionally develops formal and non-formal environmental educators.  MAEOE strives to unify schools and nature centers throughout the state to accomplish the task of teaching students the importance of protecting our natural resources.
4. What are the advantages of working at a small non-profit?
I’ve gained many skills by learning to do everything that needs to be done at MAEOE.  If someone is sick or busy, someone else in the office may need to take on a task that is not normally assigned to them.  Therefore I have been fully immersed in activities such as the planning of events, posting on the website and helping with the green schools program.  There is always something to do, so if you are like me and do not like to sit around doing nothing, this kind of environment will not leave you disappointed. 
5. What are your career goals, and how has your time at MAEOE helped you grow as a young professional?                                                       
I am interested in the environmental sector and want to feel that I am doing meaningful work.  After I finish my term I will use my skills, experience and connections that I developed while at MAEOE to join an organization that helps the environment.  I am considering returning to school to get a Masters in Environmental Engineering.  What I have learned about the environmental education sector will help me be well rounded in whatever environmental field I decide to join.

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