Baristanet Profile: Jill Wodnick

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Name: Jill Wodnick

Where do you live? South End of Montclair

When did you move here? February 1997

Where did you grow up? Somerset, NJ

How do you make a living? What is your passion?

I work to improve maternity care in NJ through policy work, direct prenatal childbirth education, advocacy and stakeholder engagement. Thanks to a grant to the non-profit arm of the Montclair State University Foundation, I am able to craft meaningful partnerships to engage in maternal health policy and programming. I have been really thankful to be #SpeakingOfBirth in political and professional partnerships. And I am deeply grateful to all the families who I’ve been able to meet in their pregnancy and postnatal time.

New Jersey’s high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality, racial disparities in birth outcomes, along with rates of low risk cesarean birthday are neither safe nor sustainable. Maternity care blends intersectional justice work, and the stakes are too high to remain with the status quo. It’s my passion, and you can read more here. Or follow me on Twitter at @JillGW.

Coffee, tea or … ? Nourishing herbal infusions! Oatstraw, nettle, red clover, and linden infusions individually decorate my days! I am a longtime community herbalist thanks to completing a three-year apprenticeship with Robin Rose Bennett, and many a decade of workshops with Susun Weed. I am always brewing and sipping herbal infusions. I also drink coffee.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Hiking; digging in the dirt; stirring soups; singing’ board games, in particular playing Settles of Catan with my three kids and Pinochle with my partner John. Most of my days also include an amazing array of text messages from an amazing circle of friends.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Mesob!

What’s on your nightstand? The Overstory by Richard Powers. It broke my heart open and I may re-read it. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

What are you listening to? WFUV radio station; Florence & The Machine; and always The Indigo Girls.

What are your current indulgences? To get more raised plant beds for my front yard!

What talent would you most like to have? I wish I could immediately identify trees. I’m working hard on tree identification, but with I was able to use my guide books better. I have learned a lot of local plants and weeds, but will spend the rest of my life learning more and need a mentor for tree ID!

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair?

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair. In a time when there is a decline for gathering together for purpose and meaning (or in the words of Robert Putnam, we are “bowling alone”), the UU bridges joy and social justice with amazing community. The best kept secret is that they offer Our Whole Lives (OWL). The youth programming along with authentic people are a safety net of depth, joy, and support in a very intense overculture.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She gave thanks to all her relations.

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