Kaitlin Deutsch: Spirit of Gainesville nominee
Published: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 4:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 4:52 p.m.
There are individuals who can change the momentum of a campaign and make an impact beyond their individual actions. This past summer Kaitlin Deutsch was critical to Florida’s Water and Land Legacy campaign in Gainesville.
About Kaitlin Deutsch
Years in Gainesville: 20
Kaitlin first got involved this spring while attending school at the University of South Florida. After learning that the state’s leading conservation organizations were working to place the Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the 2014 ballot she volunteered to help gather petitions on campus. During Earth Month she started talking with her classmates and continued to stay involved after returning home for the summer. She decided to commit her time during the hottest and muggiest days of summer to gather petitions from neighbors, friends, and community members. This simple act of asking friends and strangers to sign a petition is a challenge for anyone, no matter their age, but very empowering. Kaitlin understood what was at stake and that broad support is necessary to protect Florida’s most cherished natural areas. By spending the weekends at the farmers market, the Free Concert Series, and local community events she was able to speak with thousands of people and ask for their support.
Her commitment didn’t stop on holidays either. She spent the 4th of July at two different firework celebrations and on the eve of her 20th birthday she spent the evening gathering petitions at Bo Diddley Plaza and then woke up early on her birthday to gather petitions at the farmers market. She also made it a family affair and recruited her father to join her in many of the petition gathering activities over the summer.
In addition to the petitions she took on the additional responsibilities of coordinating and training adults new to the campaign. She would lead by example and motivate them through her actions to be active in this historic conservation initiative.
As the summer came to an end and Kaitlin started preparing to return to USF, the people she volunteered with were sad to see her go. While she will not be active in Gainesville, her commitment to the campaign continues at USF. Kaitlin currently maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA at USF, while working diligently toward a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. With only 3 months remaining, she will balance her academic work with the campaign petition effort. Her enthusiasm was in full gear on the first day of classes as she was talking with freshman about signing the petition and recruiting them to get involved with her on campus. The future of Florida’s environment is in good hands with Kaitlin.
Nominated by Kaitlin Deutsch