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White Violet Center interns: Meet the fabulous four!

It is always a happy time at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice (WVC) when we welcome new interns!  They each bring their unique personalities, skill sets, interests, creativity, experiences, talents and energy! 

Interns and Sister Mary posing near the looms.
(L to R) Campbell Sullivan, Gaia Malin, Sister Mary Montgomery, Madeleine Beck, Libby Robinette

This January we are welcoming two new interns into our program, Gaia Malin and Campbell Sullivan. They joined two of our seasoned interns, Libby and Madeleine.  Enjoy learning more about our current “crop” of interns! 

Gaia Malin, Louisville, Colorado

Gaia Malin

Gaia is majoring in Drama and Dramatic Writing (Playwrights Horizons) at New York University (NYU).

Prior to beginning college, Gaia has worked with:

  • Youth Advocating for Change, LGBTQ+ Advocate and Researcher, Boulder, Colorado
  • Boulder Valley Women’s Health, Sex Education
  • Lobbied at the Colorado capitol for LGBTQIA+ issues and other educational bills
  • Gastronaut and Mooya restaurants

“When COVID-19 induced expulsion from the NYU dorms in March, I found myself in a classic swirling pit of existential anxiety trapped in dusty Colorado. This was interrupted by a friend suggesting we spend a month WWOOFing (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) together somewhere out of state. I knew I was passionate about environmentalism and even nursing a burgeoning interest in food production and justice, but I had no idea how much working on the farm would change my perspective. What was intended to be a one-month stay drew into a five-month stay, and passing fancy has grown into a full-on hunger to learn everything I can about working the land and caring for it.

I found the White Violet Center while looking for a farm that is committed to eco-justice and produces a wide variety of goods — I want to learn a diverse skill set and how to apply it toward land stewardship. I also knew that I was looking for a more intensive learning experience than what I could receive from WWOOFing alone, so a farm with an active internship program and an interest in teaching was vital to me. I know that farm justice is food justice is world justice and I am impressed by White Violet Center for Eco-Justice’s desire to integrate these premises. I know that working with the earth is going to be a part of my life but I don’t yet know how. So the answer seems obvious to me: learn as much as I can, work as hard as I can, soak up everything.

My experience is at Tir na nÓg, a small celtic heritage farm in Maine, where I have had the opportunity to test my hand at a diverse range of skills from carpentry to butchery to gardening to foraging. I have worked extensively in our gardens as well as with our livestock, knowing that caring for each with rigor is an important part of creating a healthy earth and a healthy diet. I have worked in carpentry, constructing sets and houses alike, and have found these skills to be invaluable in nearly every aspect of my life and craft. I live to learn and I learn by doing. My mastery lies in being an enthusiastic and quick worker. I know that I’m not yet ready to run a farm, but I know that I am skilled enough to assist in a breadth of tasks as necessary. I care about working thoroughly and vigorously — knowing that often the work day is over when the task is completed to its fullest extent.”

Campbell Sullivan, Columbia, South Carolina

Campbell Sullivan

Campbell has a bachelor’s degree in English and Studio Art from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. After college she had an internship with Disney World and worked at Epcot, communicating with guests from all over the world. 

“I have always loved art. From the time my dad bought me art kits from the bookstore, I have filled my days with creating. My favorite kind of art was something that had character, a tactile quality, and normally something I could individualize as a gift for someone. At the age of ten I discovered knitting, and then crocheting. And my love of fiber arts took off from there. For my senior art thesis, I wrote a children’s book and sculpted the characters in hand-built scenes primarily creating them through crocheting and felting. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects I have done. Since I am a recent graduate, I want to pursue experiences that I have always dreamed about. One of those experiences is to learn more about fiber arts, especially the full process from harvesting the fiber to processing it into yarn and then transforming that into art. I want to live a life that has the powerful and emphatic experiences to shape my life and interests into living a full and thriving life. My goal is to one day be an artist, a storyteller and someone who uses their gifts to positively impact the lives of others.”

Madeleine Beck, White Plains, New York

Madeleine Beck

Madeleine has a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 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 has participated in a 30-day self-sufficient backpacking course in Wind River Range, Wyoming, 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.

“It’s hard to believe I’ve been an intern with White Violet Center for five months now! Already I’ve experienced the changing seasons from the late summer harvest, to putting the gardens to bed in the fall, to focusing more on fiber arts through the winter months. I’ve really been enjoying learning more about fiber — something I had no background in before coming here. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of my free time practicing spinning, which I’ve come to enjoy and find relaxing. I’ve also been learning to knit and just finished working on a scarf that I made from yarn I spun. I think my next project will be a hat that I knit from some dyed yarn I’m spinning. Recently I decided to extend my internship through August and I’m looking forward to seeing what a full year on the farm looks like. I’m very thankful for the friends I’ve made here and for having a place like this to work during these uncertain times!”

Libby Robinette, Noblesville, Indiana

Libby has her bachelor’s degree in biology with minors in Studio Art and Spanish from Indiana University in Bloomington. After college Libby served with EarthCorps (AmeriCorps) in Seattle. She began the internship program with White Violet Center in February 2020. Libby writes about her experience these recent months. 

Libby Robinette

“I can hardly believe that I have been here for (almost) a whole year! After 11 months of new experiences, it is very restful (and a bit surreal) to return to the “reset” period that is winter on the farm. I spend my time doing much of the same things I did when I first arrived here, but now with so much more context. Skirting alpaca fiber takes on a new meaning after seeing their birth, death, and moments in between. Planning and preparing for this year’s vegetable production has more weight after the lessons learned from last season. I am excited for this year’s interns, because I know many of the experiences that lie ahead of them, and how much they have to look forward to. I have so much gratitude that this place exists and that I was brought here to learn from such incredible people, and I am happy to see others experience the same joys I have had!”

Would you like to learn more about the internship and long-term volunteer program at White Violet Center for Eco-Justice? Learn more or apply here!

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Sister Mary Montgomery

Sister Mary Montgomery, SP, serves as the Internship Program Coordinator for White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. She also offers retreats, spiritual direction and workshops. She has a deep appreciation of nature in every season, the Sacred in the Ordinary, and the arts.

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