Volunteers In Focus: Maggie DeFosse

Volunteers in Focus: Maggie DeFosse

Avalonia has its first volunteer student intern! Maggie DeFosse from Stonington will complete her graduation requirements from Colorado State University by working with us for several months this fall and winter. At Colorado State, Maggie majored in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Her studies focused on the social aspects of environmental studies, and included classes in conservation management, conflict management, environmental policy, and communications. In short, she describes her career interests as “being the middle person between science and people.” She hopes that her future work will involve engaging people in the environmental movement and communicating effectively among various constituencies.

Maggie lived in Stonington as a child, then moved to several other Connecticut towns and is now back in our community. She fondly remembers Avalonia volunteer Beth Sullivan visiting her classroom in grade school, saying, “Mrs. Sullivan made an impression on me. She knew so much about the woods and water and animals, and brought this to our classroom with enthusiasm and care.”

As an Avalonia Intern, Maggie is working on community outreach and programs. She is in the Avalonia office two days a week, helping with office administration, learning software to help manage donors and membership, writing press releases and web posts. Maggie supported the recent Atkinson-Dirlam fundraising event, and is helping with the upcoming volunteer newsletter. Along with another volunteer, Kathleen Smith, she hosted a Hike & Seek event with an eye towards re-invigorating the program.

Maggie’s Avalonia internship will provide the final credential for her Bachelor in Science degree. She says, “I hadn’t lived here since I was a child and didn’t know a lot about Avalonia.” Several of Maggie’s family members had been active volunteers with Avalonia and able to reconnect her with Beth Sullivan and get her involved with the organization to complete her degree.

Maggie observed that Avalonia is “shockingly well organized” for an entirely volunteer organization. “Avalonia has amazing people who have so much knowledge and take the time to share it, to support the community in this meaningful and important way. Avalonia has a beautiful website, too. I wasn’t expecting it to be this amazing. It’s great to be working with such an amazing organization.”