Maryland Pesticide Education Network Staff

Ruth Berlin, LCSW-C, Executive Director

Ruth founded the Maryland Pesticide Network (MPN) in 1994, which became the non-profit organization the Maryland Pesticide Education Network (MPEN) in 2014. She became a grassroots activist after she and her son were poisoned by pesticides aerially sprayed for fruit fly eradication in Southern California in 1990 and by the same pesticide after their move to Maryland. Her work on the issue of pesticides and her success at bringing together a diverse coalition of state groups and businesses, concerned about the impact of pesticides on public health and the environment has been recognized locally and nationally. She was appointed to the Maryland Governor’s Pesticide Council in 1997 by Governor Parris N. Glendening and was a member of the Council until December 2004. Ruth is a past board member of Beyond Pesticides and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. She is currently a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Toxics Contaminants Workgroup. Ruth received her B.A. from City College of New York in 1970 and her M.S.W. from Adelphi School of Social Work in 1972. She was the co-founder and co-director of the Family Group Institute, San Francisco from 1976-1981, and associate faculty at the University of San Francisco Medical School from 1977-1981. She was also the co-founder and past co-director of InnerSource: A Center for Psychotherapy and Healing in Annapolis, MD from 1990-2000. Ruth gave this position up to devote her time to initially MPN and then MPEN. A practicing psychotherapist for over 50 years who brings her understanding of group dynamics and healthy communication to her MPEN work, she still also maintains a small part-time private practice in Annapolis, MD.

Bonnie Raindrop, B.A., Program Director

Bonnie’s career as a communications professional and project manager spans 35 years. She was editor/publisher of Baltimore Resources Journal, a health and environmental magazine (1985-2000) and Voices of Women Journal (1991-1996), and won an SBA Media Advocate Award in 1993. With a mission to amplify the relationship of personal health to environmental health, she launched and coordinated annual regional health and environmental expos (Whole Living Expos, Voices of Women Expos 1986-2000) and organized the Earth Day 1990 Chesapeake Campaign for the 20th anniversary, forming a coalition of 30 organizations, producing an Earth Week Expo at Johns Hopkins University, an Inner Harbor Earth Day event, and published an Earth Day Resource Guide for Maryland schools. In 1995, she established a website development company, DoubleClicked Publications, which provided web services to the Baltimore business and non-profit communities. Colony Collapse Disorder and its links to neonicotinoid pesticides propelled her to become a beekeeper-educator teaching beekeepers and the public about the role of pesticides in rising bee losses. Her concern and knowledge regarding pesticides, their impacts, and safer alternatives have expanded to include impacts on the Bay and human health. Since 2016, she has served as the grassroots coordinator of the MPEN-led Smart on Pesticides Coalition.

Robert SanGeorge, M.A., Social Media Coordinator

Robert has been professionally engaged in environmental, public health and social change work for the last twenty-two years. His past positions include Senior Communications and Development Consultant for the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Vice President for External Relations for the World Resources Institute; Director of Communications for the World Wildlife Fund and Vice President for Public Affairs for the National Audubon Society. Prior to his work with these organizations, from 1978- 1984 Robert worked for United Press International (UPI) as Chief International Energy and Environment Correspondent, Legal Correspondent and as UPI Ohio Bureau Chief. He has an M.A. in public policy from Ohio State University, where he was a Kiplinger Foundation Fellow.

Shirley D. Rivers, IPM in Health Care Facilities Project Director

Shirley has had an array of public health and medical education experience over the past thirteen years. She has worked as a Senior Management Consultant for the VHA, Public Health Program Manager for the Dallas County Health Department and Undergraduate Medical Education Coordinator for Texas A&M Medical School. Shirley earned both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey.

Jack Solomon, Project Assistant

Jack joined the MPEN team in January of 2021 as an intern. Upon graduation in May of 2021, they joined the team officially as a Project Assistant and have worked on various projects within the Smart on Pesticides and Marylanders for Food and Farmworkers Coalitions. Long focused on scientific research and public advocacy, Jack holds a B.S. in Environmental Systems and Geography from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a minor in Anthropology. They are currently an M.S. student at UMBC studying the overlap of human geography and urban forest systems, expecting to receive their Master’s degree in 2023.

Rachael Keyes, Project Assistant

Rachael joined MPEN in 2023, after completing an internship in 2022 while pursuing her studies in public health and political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. With an evident passion for protecting public interests, she has invested her time in learning more about advocacy and using policy to better the lives of others. Following an internship in the office of a Maryland senator, she began her career objective of using her acquired skills in the nonprofit sector, as a means to make a positive impact in creating a more equitable world.

Maggi G. Gaines, M.A., M.ED., Strategy and Collaboration Officer

Maggi has a diverse career in the non-profit community. Her leadership positions have included executive director, development director, partnership developer, and consultant for local, state and national organizations and foundations. Maggi is a graduate of Goucher College, and holds Master’s Degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She studied at the Kennedy School of Harvard University in a program for senior leaders in state and local government and completed coursework for doctoral program at The Johns Hopkins University Political Science with a focus on American Government.