An interview with Carol Bertrand. Her Role: Environmentalist
1. How did you get interested in environmental issues and nature?
Well, actually the nature part, I first got into gardening as a kid because I had two aunts and a grandmother. My mother wasnít a great gardener but these women were, so I got very interested in plants. After college, I guess I was always interested to see the connections between what people do and the environment. So, I know one of the early things, the mayor of my hometown appointed me to an environmental group in the city because I was always spouting off on things. I was in the Zanta International, which is a womenís service group. Itís kind of like Kiwanis or the Rotary but for women. I went up to Boston to one of their international conferences and they had a speaker there. She said, ĎService is the rent you pay for your room in the world.í It made a big impression on me, and I really took that to heart.
2. How long have you taken an active part in improving the environment?
Really, since I was a kid. My mom was into organizations. It didnít matter if it was making table favors or what it was, we got hauled into it. Through the years, Iíve done a variety of volunteer stints with a variety of groups ó historical preservation, community theater, environmental projects, the humane society. To me, I see all this as one whole problem. My husband and I have been in Lima for 30 years. I first volunteered with the Welcome Wagon and then our next door neighbor introduced us to Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District. So, I volunteered there in various things like at the annual apple festival. I compiled an apple cookbook as a fundraiser. Weíve been part of the wild garlic pulling gang for 14 or 15 years now to save the wildflowers in Kendrick Woods. The park district and Audubon ó it has just been a lot of things weíve done. Now Iím walking around my ward to pass out information on Johnny Appleseedís replacement levy thatís on the May 7 ballot.
3. What are the primary things you are involved in now?
Probably the one thing I give the most time to currently is the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society. Thatís a local chapter of the national Audubon Society. We do everything from recycling, helping with the annual bird seed sale, help raise money and work on projects. With Audubon, I was president for a total of eight years. Right now, I do the publicity and I am the education chair. We have the Audubon Adventures program for grades one through six in the schools in our eight-county service areas. I represent the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society on the Citizensí Advisory Committee for the Lima- Allen County Regional Planning Commission and represent the chapter as a substitute representative on the Ottawa River Coalition. Iím also a member of the Allen County Citizens for the Environment, West Central Ohio Land Conservancy and the Allen County Local Emergency Planning Committee where I represent the public.
4. Do you have a favorite volunteer activity?
I donít think really, but I like being in the outdoors. Iím a librarian though, so Iím good with paperwork. Nobody else wants to do that, so I always seem to end up with it. I like everything really. Thatís why I ended up as a librarian ó I like a lot of different things.
5. What things do you wish people would do as far as the environment that would make a difference?
Reduce, reuse and recycle, is what we say, right? If people would put trash where it belongs that would make a difference. Iím sure the farmers would appreciate it. I really do believe in clean air, clean water and clean soil. Plastic is here for hundreds of years and doesnít help that. People can replant a tree. Weíve lost so many to storms, the ice storm or the elm borer. They muffle sound, hold soil, save money for people, provide shade. Just make sure you plant them well.