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 Small Business Media Advocate Award in 1993. With a mission to amplify the relationship of personal health to environmental health, she launched and coordinated health and environmental expos, including the annual Whole Living Expos, and Voices of Women Expos (1986-2000). Bonnie organized the Earth Day 1990 Chesapeake Campaign for the 20th anniversary celebration and formed and led a coalition of 30 organizations, producing an Earth Week Expo at Johns Hopkins University to kickoff statewide commemorative events, an Earth Day Resource Guide for Maryland schools, and an Inner Harbor Earth Day event. 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. Bonnie also serves as Central Maryland Beekeepers Association’s Legislative Chairperson.

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.

Carolyn Ricketts, Assistant Project Director

Carolyn’s lifelong love and passion for the environment and wildlife began as child, growing up in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and spending time on its waterways on both the Eastern and Western Shores.  While Carolyn worked for 33 years as a Sr. Mortgage Banking Loan Officer, she expressed her passion for the environment by volunteering for environmental groups as she continues to do to this day.  She graduated from the  Watershed Stewards Academy as a Master Watershed Steward from the Academy’s first class of 2009 and was a founding member of the Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis.  She worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation from 2012 to 2015. Carolyn has worked with Neighborhood Sun, a community solar Benefit Corporation as their Director of Partnerships since March of 2018 and continues providing consultation for their community solar projects.  She has also lobbied for environmental and clean energy legislation for offshore wind power, community solar, banning fracking, increasing MD’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, providing clean water protections, banning chlorpyrifos, and forest conservation.

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.

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.