About UsMidwest Pesticide Action Center

Our Mission

Midwest Pesticide Action Center is dedicated to reducing the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides by promoting safer alternatives. Continue reading for for: History, Staff, Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Partners and Supporters


The Sierra Club, Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest founded the organization in 1994 to address widespread concerns over pesticide use. We work at the local, state, and regional levels to implement long-term policy changes and develop replicable programs for pesticide-use reduction. We are the only organization in the Midwest dedicated to protecting people and the environment from the serious impacts of pesticides. Recognition for our successful programs includes an Environmental Protection Agency Children’s Environmental Health Award, an Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Award, and a Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award. In 2013, after a thoughtful evaluation that included input from our staff, board, and stakeholders, we changed our name from Safer Pest Control Project to Midwest Pesticide Action Center. This new incarnation reinforces our core commitment and mission: to reduce the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides by promoting safer alternatives. As Midwest Pesticide Action Center, we will continue to address issues related to pesticide use, while expanding our reach throughout the Midwest.


Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director

Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director, has been on Midwest Pesticide Action Center’s staff since 2005. During her tenure, Ms. Kerzee has been responsible for Midwest Pesticide Action Center’s work related to promoting Integrated Pest Management in schools and childcare facilities, and primary responsibility for developing the Integrated Pest Management in housing program. Ms. Kerzee is also responsible for all executive duties such as generating evaluative programs and strategizing on the growth and development of the organization. She has a Master’s of Science degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois Chicago, more than 15 years of experience working on occupational and environmental health issues, and is a licensed pest control technician. (773) 878-7378 ext.201 rkerzee@pesticideaction.org

Ryan Anderson, Program and Communications Manager

Ryan Anderson leads and implements Midwest Pesticide Action Center’s integrated marketing campaign and outdoors program. Before joining MPAC in 2015, Ryan led carbon mitigation strategic planning in Indianapolis, provided communication support to the Delta Institute, and served as editor in chief for the online, video-format journal the Sustainability Review. Ryan has a Masters of Sustainable Solutions from Arizona State University and holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Biology and Electronic Journalism from Butler University.  (773) 878-7378 ext.202 randerson@pesticideaction.org

Deborah Stewart, Development Director

Deborah Stewart is a seasoned development professional and nonprofit manager. Before coming to Midwest Pesticide Action Center she spent nine years as a development officer at Steppenwolf Theatre Company where she was is the Director of Foundation and Government Relations. Prior to that she was Development Director for Chicago Dramatists from 2001 – 2005. She was Managing Director for Illinois’ oldest professional outdoor theater, Festival Theatre in Oak Park from 1997 – 2001; and free lanced as a grant writer specializing in fundraising for the arts and arts education for some years before that.  She served as a board member for the 16th Street Theater NFP in Berwyn from 2009 – 2014. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and B.A. from the University of California-Santa Cruz. (773) 878-7378 ext.208 dstewart@pesticideaction.org


Board of Directors

Meleah A. Geertsma, President Staff Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
Pamela Brookstein, Vice President Market Transformation Specialist, Elevate Energy
Kevin Dick, Treasurer LEED AP + O&M Project Manager, Delta Institute
Jonathan Higgins, Secretary Director of Conservation, Great Rivers Partnership, The Nature Conservancy
Susan Besson, Chair, Evanston Environment Board
Peggy McGrath, Community Activist, Oak Park & River Forest, IL
Pallavi Phartiyal, Senior Analyst & Program Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists
Julie Samuels, Community Organizer, Chicago Community Gardeners Association and Oak Park Edible Gardeners Cooperative.
Jonathan Wise, Founder and Owner, Greewise Organic Lawn Care, LLC

Advisory Council

Julie Brown, Senior Staff Counsel, Business & Professional People for the Public Interest
Raymond Cloyd, Ph.D. Professor, Kansas State University, Department of Entomology
Jay Feldman, Executive Director, Beyond Pesticides
Kevin Greene, Associate Director, IL EPA, Office of Pollution Prevention
Keith Harley, J.D. Environmental Law Program Director, Chicago Legal Clinic
Marc Lame, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Philip Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc. Dean for Global Health, Ethel M. Wise, Professor and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine, Professor Pediatrics, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Director, Children’s Environmental Health Center
Peter Orris, Professor of Internal and Preventative Medicine, Rush University College of Medicine; Adjunct Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois School of Public Health; and Adjunct Professor of Preventative Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School
Rachel Rosenberg, Manager, Corporate Relations, Chicago Botanic Garden; Former Executive Director, Safer Pest Control Project
Kim Stone, Councilwoman, City of Highland Park; Former Associate Director, Safer Pest Control Project
Jill Viehweg, Director of Foundation and Government Relations, Denver Museum of Nature and Science; Founding Executive Director, Safer Pest Control Project

Partners and Supporters

Peter and Lucy Ascoli Family Fund
The Boeing Company
Boston Foundation Philancon Fund
Chicago Wilderness
City of Boulder
City of Chicago
City of Evanston
Clif Bar Family Foundation
Cornell Douglas Foundation
EarthShare Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
National Center for Healthy Housing
Pesticide Action Network of North America
Pierce Family Foundation
Polk Bros. Foundation
Public Places Healthy Spaces
Roberts Family Foundation
Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc.
Thomas and Donna Stone Foundation
Village of Franklin Park
Wallace Genetic Foundation
Whole Foods Market