White Violet Center: Meet the new 2020 fall intern cohort
A popular refrain within the Community of Providence is “Sacred Creation” by Rufino Zaragoza, OFM. “Sacred the land, sacred the water, sacred the sky, holy and true. Sacred all life, sacred each other; all reflect God who is good.” We at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice experience these blessings day by day and season by season. We Sisters of Providence and White Violet Center staff give thanks for the blessings of our interns this season!
Madeleine Beck, White Plains, NY
Madeleine has a B.A. in Astrophysics from Wellesley College, MA. She also has a Wilderness First Responder Certification from National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Wilderness Medicine Child/Adult CPR & Airway Management, Epinephrine Auto-Injector certifications. She also participated in a 30-day self-sufficient backpacking course in Wind River Range, WY, learning wilderness survival and first aid skills, as well as “leave no trace” practices. Madeleine also earned an Advanced Hindi Certification from American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India.
“I spent last summer working as an educator at a community farm in Massachusetts … I gained experience caring for and managing many types of animals including sheep, goats, pigs, cows, chickens, and rabbits. We also did some instruction with the children on sustainable farming and harvesting practices for the farm run CSA.
“I would ideally like to focus the internship on animal husbandry while still being an active participant in all farm duties. In the long term, my career goals include attending veterinary school, working in environmental/public health and having a small farm of my own one day. In the immediate future, I am hoping to gain experience caring for a variety of animals and learning about what running a small farm entails.”
Mary Gardner, Haddon Heights, NJ
Mary is a recent graduate of Camden Catholic High School. She has deferred her first year at Catholic University, Washington, DC, where she plans to major in studio art and architecture.
“I find myself wanting to be part of something larger than myself during this time (pandemic) of anxiety and need. I also have loved farms since I was a little girl. My dad and I have always talked about our dream farm, which would include produce gardens and a collection of animals. I often help my dad with his small produce lot at our local community garden, and this past spring we built a chicken coop together for 10 Rhode Island Red hens that joined us in quarantine. In high school, I participated in a volunteer opportunity called “gleaning” at local farms, whose farmers leave portions of their crops to be harvested and then distribute fresh produce to the poor and hungry of the local community via Catholic Charities, soup kitchens, and NJ Farmers Against Hunger.
“In college I was scheduled to major in studio art and architecture. Both interests stem from a desire to capture and appreciate God’s creation. In art I hope to hone my skills because I think art is a glorification of God’s beauty in nature. In architecture, I’m interested in the innovation of building while maintaining environmental sustainability and how those two can work in conjunction. I believe this internship could provide me with opportunities to heighten both interests, not only because of the service orientation and Catholic identity of White Violet Center, but also because of the educational hands-on experience I’d be exposed to.”
Rose Grosskopf, Hyde Park, NY
Rose is a recent graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where she majored in English and Music. She has experience in gardening and botanical artwork and is interested in learning more about ecological farming practices as a member of a faith-based community.
“I’ve worked in gardens both professionally and personally. At Holy Cross, I took a course on energy in agriculture and a creative writing class that focused on the environment, both of which have encouraged me to learn more about redressing the effects of climate change. When I worked as an intern for the Staatsburg Library, I assisted the other librarians with rebuilding the library gardens and maintaining them throughout the summer. When not researching or working at an internship, I spend my summers working in my family’s gardens—planting, weeding, and harvesting produce.
Almost every August I’ve combined this hobby with participation in the local community, entering flowers and floral arrangements in the Dutchess County Fair’s Horticulture Department and botanical artwork in the Fine Arts Department. In 2014, I provided the botanical art for an educational publication created by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County. As I have an interest in illustration, I hope to design and create introductory gardening guides for children using botanical artwork, a project which time spent at the WVC internship program would allow me to accomplish. Additionally, I am greatly interested in returning to a faith-based community, being a practicing Catholic myself, and having involved myself with Holy Cross’s church community as a liturgical musician and cantor.”
Margaret Robb, Summit, NJ
Margaret has completed her sophomore year at Mount Holyoke College in MA, majoring in Neuroscience – both Behavior and Cognitive. Last summer she participated in the intensive Chinese program at Beijing Culture and Language University, China.
“Ever since I was little, I had a special green thumb. While my sister and friends would be playing in the yard, I found comfort being in the garden, tugging on those nasty weeds and seeing our garden and veggies grow each year. I enjoy being outdoors and working towards a driven goal. I value the importance of hands-on-experience which I know will guide me to be a more well-rounded individual. In the past I have grown my leadership skills through OWLES, an outdoor wilderness leadership experience based out of Camp Onaway. I was challenged in the following activities: white-water rafting, rock climbing, hiking, canoeing and working with a group of girls to sustain our living in the woods.
“I hope that this opportunity at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice continues to fuel my passion for gardening and finding ways to be sustainable in my everyday life. I want to be someone who can not only advocate for sustainable practices but implement them into my daily routine. I’m excited to take on this experience and to explore myself more in nature.”
Libby Robinette, Noblesville, IN
Libby began the internship program with White Violet Center in February 2020. She has her B.S. in Biology and minors in Studio Art and Spanish from Indiana University in Bloomington. After college Libby served with EarthCorps (AmeriCorps) in Seattle.
“I came here with the simple idea that I could learn more about farming and sustainability, but I have been learning so much more! I’m learning to see plant biology through a wholly new perspective, how to live in mutual respect with animals that are not pets, and what soil actually is and how to keep it healthy.” Read more from Libby about her intern experience.