Mary Fastiggi

2013 The Naturalist


If you’re looking for Mary Fastiggi, you might want to start outdoors.

As the Parkhurst Fellow at the Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC), she’s a passionate advocate for encouraging people to appreciate nature through both scientific and personal discovery.

For Mary, the outdoors serves as the best classroom.

The forests, the Clara Ford Pond, Jenson’s Meadow—she believes students process questions differently when away from the typical modern classroom.

Mary teaches children and adults to practice observation and to develop a deeper sense of how ecosystems function through direct exposure of the outdoors.

“I love being engaged in environmental education and outreach,” she said. “I hope that my excitement works as a type of persuasion for others to see relationships between our society and the natural environment.”

She’s conducted more than 120 educational programs on the environment for more than 4,000 school children. She has supervised the EIC’s Children’s Gardening Program and the annual Rouge River Water Festival and has served as a chaperone during Science Exploration Day.

And that’s just a short list of all she’s done.

“Mary’s impact at the EIC has been profound,” said David Susko, EIC director. “Her enthusiasm for nature and environmental studies is infectious. She is bright, articulate, compassionate and ever so personable. I cannot imagine a better student representative for the EIC or for the university.”

Her outreach continued when she began an environmental initiatives co-op with DTE Energy. There, she worked with an environmental planner to promote voluntary environmental programs with the company.

Of course, Mary spends plenty of time indoors, too, as she's maintained a demanding academic schedule. As an Honors Program student with a double major in environmental studies and history, she’ll graduate with a 3.99 GPA.

As she plots her next move, Mary will continue to combine her scholarly work with her environmental passions.

“I would love to continue to expand my research and leadership options with pioneering faculty and peers at a graduate school,” she said. “I aspire to work in an atmosphere that enhances my ability to contribute to environmental initiatives that will benefit the wider community.”