Environmental Protectionist Discovers Her Passions
Amy Berry works in the Wetlands and Streams Unit of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy as policy coordinator. In this role, she supports programs and educates stakeholders on wetlands protection.
“I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in environmental science and management,” said Berry. “And I was in private consulting for 12 years before working for the state.”
Berry is married with two children, a boy and a girl, both now in their teens. She also channeled her passion for dance into becoming a Zumba instructor.
“I always liked dance, up until sixth grade when other things got in the way,” explained Berry. “After I had my kids, I wanted to do something to take care of myself, so I looked in the Holt community section and saw that there were some Zumba classes. This was around 2008 and Zumba was new at the time. I’d never heard of it, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I went to the class by myself, and that one class changed my life.”
Berry made a lot of friends at the class and became closer to her instructor. After six to eight months of classes, her instructor asked if Berry if she would be interested in getting licensed to teach her own classes. In 2009, she took the one-day course necessary for becoming an instructor.
“I was very nervous for my first couple classes,” Berry said. “But it was fun connecting with students and seeing them improve. Zumba is great, even for beginners, because it’s not about doing it perfectly. It’s about having fun and moving around, and that’s one of the things that I love most about Zumba.”
Berry’s pastime has become a hit with her family as well, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.
“Zumba and dance in general have become a great passion of mine,” said Berry. “And now my daughter is taking her own dance lessons, and I’ve been helping at her studio as the backstage and costume manager. I love it because I get to be around dance and get to spend time with my daughter.”
According to Berry, you may not know it yet, but Zumba could be just what you need in life.
“I encourage everyone to try Zumba or any dance,” Berry said. “The nature of Zumba is social and it’s a community feel. It’s something that you can do with and meet a bunch of new people in an upbeat setting. It’s also something that lets people loosen up. They don’t have to think about work or home for an hour or so, and just get their bodies moving.”
Be sure to check out Berry’s Facebook page for classes at facebook.com/ZumbawithAmyBerry/ or visit Zumba.com to search your area for classes.