By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Amanda Gamby has been a tree-hugger and nature defender as long as she can remember.
“This is pretty much who I am,” Gamby said as she sat in her office surrounded by recycling bins, giant plants, tree pictures, and hula hoops (we’ll get to that later.) “It’s always been where I’ve gravitated toward.”
Soon Gamby will be leaving this office, as Wood County Solid Waste environmental educator, to fill the newly-created position of Bowling Green city sustainability coordinator. She starts the new job on April 2.
When she takes over as sustainability coordinator, Gamby will be expected to be a “utility player,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. She will be educating the public about the city’s programs for trash, recycling and sustainability. She will explain new rules to the public, plus give tours of the county landfill and the recycling center. And she will work with the utilities department on stormwater management, and on educating the public about the new solar field and wind turbines.
Gamby is quite comfortable being a “utility player,” since she has appreciated combining her love of nature and teaching in her position with the county over the last 12 years.
Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar has no doubt that she can handle the new job.
“She’s really good with people,” especially with school-age children, he said. “She has a good way of communicating. She’s just a bubbly person.”
That enthusiasm comes naturally, Gamby said.
“I’m very personable with them, and I truly do care about each group who comes out” to environmental presentations, she said.
As a child, Gamby always chose nature, recycling or litter collection for every Girl Scout, 4-H or school project. “We were always outside, as kids,” she said.
She went on to get an environmental policy and analysis degree in college, and worked in education.
So she already does double-duty as an environmentalist and educator.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Gamby said with a grin.
During her years with the county, Gamby worked hard to create a network and partnerships between like-minded agencies in the area. “I’m most proud of building those relationships,” she said.
Gamby said she is looking forward to being able to concentrate her efforts on one community – Bowling Green – rather the entire county.
“I’m looking forward to really being able to apply some of the training I’ve received,” she said.
Oh, and the hula hoops? Gamby plans to continue her efforts to make learning about sustainability fun – especially for kids. Her demonstrations often include a giant earth ball, and the hula hoops, which double-time as big worm segments.