Staff

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. berlin@mdpestnet.org

Bonnie Raindrop, B.A., Program Director

As a program director for MPEN, Bonnie also serves as project director for the Pesticides & the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project and coordinates the Smart on Pesticides Coalition, which MPEN facillitates. 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. raindrop@mdpestnet.org

Sean Lynch, B.S., Project Director

Sean joins MPEN from MOM’s Organic Market where he was the Environmental Research and Partnership Manager advocating for organics and the reduced use of pesticides. He brings a diverse background with vital project and stakeholder engagement experience from multiple sectors. He became a Maryland Master Naturalist with Nature Forward (formerly the Audubon Naturalist Society) in 2021 and has additionally been an Education volunteer at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Sean’s lifelong commitment to a healthy environment and conservation has kept him engaged with environmental organizations and Citizen Science for many years. sean@mdpestnet.org

Diana M. Eignor, M.S., M.S. Ed., Science Director

Diana’s career as a biologist and toxicologist spans 30 years. She was a biologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Science and Technology where she served as technical lead/aquatic toxicologist on several aquatic life criteria, ecological white papers, and methodology development for plant criteria and bioavailability for metals. A key aspect of this job was collaborating with states and regions to protect aquatic life and natural resources. It was in this position where she became familiar with MPEN and was a guest speaker and volunteered with the Pesticides and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project. Prior to the EPA Office of Water, Diana worked in the Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Fate and Effects Division where she served as the team leader for the preparation of ecological risk and fate assessments for pesticides. This involved coordinating and planning the work of staff including geologists, chemists, and biologists in preparing technical documents under strict deadlines. Before federal service, Diana worked with several consulting groups and was an adjunct biology professor. After retiring and living in Maryland, her concern and knowledge regarding pesticides, their impacts on the environment and human health, drew her to MPEN and its mission. Currently, she is serving as Project Coordinator for Pesticides and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Project for MPEN. deignor@yahoo.com

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. mpn.rsangeorge@gmail.com

Jack Solomon, M.S., Research Director

Jack joined the MPEN team in January of 2021 as an intern. Upon graduation with a Bachelors of Science 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 an M.S. in Geography and Environmental Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, having studied the overlap of human geography and forest systems globally. jsolomon@mdpestnet.org

Rachael Keyes, Project Associate

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. rkeyes@mdpestnet.org

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.

Joe Griffin,  M.B.A., IPM in Health Care Facility Project Consultant

Joe Griffin brings more than 30 years of facility operations management, with 16+ years at Sheppard Pratt Health System as its Facility Services Operations Management Executive.