Group photo of TNC MD/DC staff. A large group of people stand together outdoors in front of a backdrop of trees, smiling during the chapter's annual staff retreat.
Our People Maryland/DC staff pose for a group photo during the 2019 all-staff retreat. © TNC

Stories in Maryland/DC

Our People: Science and Policy in Action

Working to create lasting solutions in Maryland, DC and around the world.

Our world faces complex conservation challenges. Meet some of the people who are working to create lasting solutions.

Media Inquiries: To schedule an interview with a member of our science, conservation, or policy staff please contact Matt Kane, Senior Media Relations Manager, by phone at 323-898-6510 (mobile) or email

A smiling man wearing a blue shirt stands in front of the Potomac Gorge. The Potomac River rushes past below him.
Tim Purinton Executive Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Tim Purinton, Executive Director

Tim’s work ranges from leading the implementation of our conservation vision and launching new initiatives to working closely with the Chapter’s volunteer trustees. This diversity of work is for a single purpose—to address the most pressing environmental issues facing Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“I get to work with motivated and talented people every day. Couple that with a steady flow of exciting implementation projects make this job extremely rewarding."

A smiling woman wearing a green blouse and gray jacket stands in the middle of a city park.
Allison Vogt Allison Vogt is the Deputy Executive Director of TNC in Maryland/DC. © Severn Smith / TNC

Allison Vogt, Deputy Executive Director

Allison provides strategic leadership and support for TNC's conservation planning work, strategy development and implementation, and public policy efforts and establishes overall conservation priorities for the chapter.

"I’m inspired every day by our team and the incredible conservation legacy we are building in Maryland and DC."

Close cropped head shot of a brown haired woman. Blurred palm trees are visible in the background.
Deborah Barber Director of Land Management © TNC

Deborah Barber, Director of Land Management

Deborah is responsible for the management of the chapter's land holdings, including easements and public preserves, for their conservation, research, and recreational value. 

“When someone says thank you for bringing them to a place they’d never visited before, it just makes my day.”

Close cropped head shot of a blond man wearing a blue shirt standing in front of green trees.
Mark Bryer Chesapeake Bay Program Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Mark Bryer, Chesapeake Bay Program Director

Mark coordinates TNC's Bay efforts across six states focusing on both policy and conservation projects to improve water quality and enhance and restore critical habitats. 

“I feel fortunate to wake up every day and know we’re making a difference in this watershed where I grew up and that I dearly love."

A smiling man wearing yellow protective fire gear and a red hardhat stands in a forest during a controlled burn.
Gabe Cahalan Conservation Steward © Severn Smith / TNC

Gabe Cahalan, Fire Manager

As the chapter's burn boss, Gabe is involved in fire management on both TNC and partner lands, working to return this critical natural process to the landscape.  In his role as preserve manager he oversees TNC owned properties, balancing the needs of both people and nature.

"I enjoy working outdoors in beautiful, unique places and helping to keep these habitats healthy."

A smiling woman in a pale green shirt stands in an open park space with trees behind her.
Michelle Canick Conservation Project Manager © Severn Smith / TNC

Michelle Canick, Conservation Project Manager

Michelle ensures that we’re using the best available GIS geospatial technologies and data to map, analyze, and communicate conservation challenges and solutions.  She helps to answer the ‘where’ questions like, “where can coastal habitats help protect people from erosion and sea level rise?” 

“It’s rewarding to work for an organization with a mission I believe in and in collaboration with many wonderful colleagues.”

Headshot of Land Protection Director Elizabeth Carter. A smiling, dark haired woman wearing a gray top and red leather jacket leans again a tree.
Elizabeth Carter Land Protection Director. © Mary Ella Jourdak Photography

Elizabeth Carter, Land Protection Director

Elizabeth is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing land protection projects in support of TNC’s climate resilience and clean water objectives. She works directly with landowners, building relationships to achieve mutual land protection goals and protect properties with vital ecosystems.

"I enjoy working with landowners to provide them a conservation option that will allow them to pass their property on to the next generation."

Headshot of Stormwater Retention Project Manager Aileen Craig. A smiling woman poses outdoors under a tree. Its branches are heavily laden with pink and white blossoms.
Aileen Craig Stormwater Retention Project Manager © Aileen Craig

Aileen Craig, Stormwater Retention Project Manager

Aileen leads the chapter’s green infrastructure planning and implementation projects throughout Washington, DC as part of the DC Department of Energy and Environments Stormwater Retention Credit Program. She engages property owners and stakeholders to improve water quality locally in the Potomac and Anacostia watersheds, and ultimately, downstream in the Chesapeake Bay.

“My role at TNC allows me to bring nature to city landscapes. I love the intersection of people and nature and believe the two must go together for both to thrive.”

Headshot of Restoration Specialist Mike Dryden. A smiling man wearing a ball cap and blue checked shirt stands in front of a narrow creek with forested banks.
Mike Dryden Restoration Specialist © Matt Kane / TNC

Mike Dryden, Restoration Specialist

Mike works with our partners and landowners to implement wetland restoration practices on state and private lands to enhance water quality and habitat and reach the chapter’s goal of 3,000 acres of restored wetlands.

“As a project takes shape I can see, even with the ugliness of construction, the wonderful outcomes we can achieve.  Helping to make that happen is rewarding for me.”

A smiling man wearing a ballcap and orange and yellow reflective vest stands in a forest.
Pabodha Galgamuwa G.A. Forest Science Project Manager © Matt Kane / TNC

Pabodha Galgamuwa G.A., Ph.D., Forest Science Project Manager

Pabodha is part of our team focused on maintaining and enhancing climate resilience in western Maryland's forests. He works on the design and implementation of science-based projects including late-successional forest management, climate-informed conifer restoration, and fire and forest management.

"It’s motivating to work and collaborate with a group of professionals with so much passion and appreciation for nature."

A smiling woman wearing a blue blouse and green scarf stands in front of green bushes and yellow flowers.
Amy Jacobs Agriculture Program Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Amy Jacobs, Agriculture Program Director

Amy leads the chapter’s efforts to improve water quality in agricultural landscapes across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, both through large-scale wetland and floodplain restoration projects as well as working with farmers and agribusinesses to implement best practices to keep nutrients on fields and out of waterways.

“I enjoy finding solutions that benefit both water quality and wildlife and help support local agriculture.”

A smiling woman wearing a dark blue shirt stands in front of tree. A bright patch of sun is visible in the grass behind her.
Donnelle Keech Resilient Forests Program Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Donnelle Keech, Resilient Forests Program Director

Donnelle leads the chapter’s efforts in western Maryland, applying the scientific knowledge and tools needed to improve forest health on public and private lands, as well as working with local stakeholders to promote Maryland’s forests as part of a bright and prosperous future for the region.

"I am so inspired by our vision of a future where nature and people in the Central Appalachians thrive, even in the face of environmental changes."

A smiling woman wearing yellow protective fire gear and a yellow hard hat. White smoke rises behind her from a small fire.
Deborah Landau Conservation Ecologist © Severn Smith / TNC

Deborah Landau, Ph.D., Conservation Ecologist

Deborah’s efforts focuses on ecological restoration at more than 30 Conservancy preserves across Maryland/DC and reaching into West Virginia, working to return natural processes—like fire—to the landscape to help maintain healthy, resilient natural systems.

"Sometimes I get satisfaction very quickly from my work, but other projects, like tree planting, will take years to see results. It’s very satisfying to know that I can do these long-term projects and they’ll continue on and on."

A smiling woman with long brown hair stands on a beach. A grassy dune and crashing waves are visible behind her.
Kelly Leo Resilient Coasts Program Director © TNC

Kelly Leo, Resilient Coasts Program Director

Kelly was part of TNC’s first coastal resilience project on Long Island in 2006. Since 2018 she has led our efforts in Maryland/DC to help coastal communities plan for and adapt to a continually changing climate and rising seas.

"It is incredibly rewarding to know that it is my job to make sure our coasts stay clean, healthy and protected so that future generations can continue to enjoy them."

A woman wearing a gray TNC jacket stands in front of a brick building.
Kate Livengood Family Forest Outreach Specialist © Matt Kane / TNC

Kate Livengood, Family Forest Outreach Specialist

As part of the western Maryland forests team, Kate's efforts are focused on increasing the number of landowners who are actively engaged in managing their privately owned land, working to help them navigate the many programs and opportunities available to them.

"It’s really exciting that my work will help to increase the percentage of privately owned land that is being well managed."

Headshot of Decision Scientist David Martin. A smiling man wearing a blue plaid shirt poses outdoors in front of a tall green hedge.
David Martin Decision Scientist. © Severn Smith / TNC

David Martin, Ph.D., Decision Scientist

David’s focus is on improving decision-making skills across TNC, collaborating with the chapter’s science team to develop the evidence base for making smart decisions and working with each of the chapter’s conservation programs in all aspects of their strategic planning.

“I enjoy facilitating discussions about our core values and how those values can be used to make actionable decisions that will improve environmental and human health conditions around the world.”

A man wearing yellow protective fire gear and a red hard hat stands in front of an open field that has been burned over.
Chase McLean Stewardship Field Assistant © Fanny Tricone Photography

Chase McLean, Stewardship Field Assistant

Chase is a member of our land management team, focused on chapter properties throughout Maryland’s Eastern Shore. His efforts involve preserve monitoring and maintenance, prescribed burning, invasive species control, and hydrological and biological monitoring projects.

"Knowing that the work I am a part of will help ensure that these natural resources will be around for others to enjoy in the future is very satisfying."

Casual headshot of Coastal Science Program Manager Jackie Specht. A smiling woman stands on a forest trail with blurred trees visible behind her.
Jackie Specht Coastal Science Program Manager. © Jackie Specht

Jackie Specht, Coastal Science Program Manager

Jackie leads efforts focused on building resilience for Maryland’s coastal communities, developing and informing strategies for facilitating marsh migration and conserving coastal landscapes, and ensuring that scientific data is informing our coastal management decisions.

"I enjoy being challenged to think creatively about how we can conserve and restore our coastal landscapes for the benefit of people and nature."

A smiling woman stands in a farm field holding a large rubber tote filled with plants. She is surrounded by hip-high green plants that stretch to the horizon behind her.
Laura Starr Agriculture Conservation Specialist. © Laura Starr

Laura Starr, Ph.D., Agriculture Conservation Specialist

Laura joined the chapter in January 2021 and will be working collaboratively with producers and partners to advance conservation practice implementation in order to improve water quality and agricultural landscapes in the Chesapeake Bay.

"Agriculture offers an enormous opportunity to improve the environmental health of our communities. I'm excited to use my expertise to advance the environmental and economic sustainability of agricultural systems in the Chesapeake Bay."



Steve Hills, Chair
Founding Director, Georgetown University Law Center Business Law Scholars Program
Chevy Chase, MD 

Amy Boebel, Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chair 
Baltimore, MD

Esko Korhonen, Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chair 
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Federal Capital Partners
Bethesda, MD 

Elizabeth Lewis, Nominating & Governance Committee Chair 
Managing Director of ESG
Blackstone Group
Washington, DC

Board Members

Tom Amis 
Chairman, Amis, Patel & Brewer, LLP 
Chevy Chase, MD 

Roger Ballentine 
President, Green Strategies Inc. 
Bethesda, MD

Walter Boynton, Ph.D. 
Estuarine Ecologist 
Prince Frederick, MD 

Mark Collins, Trustee Emeritus
Partner, Brown & Advisory Trust
Baltimore, MD

Jeff Eckel 
Chairman and CEO, Hannon Armstrong 
Annapolis, MD 

Barbara L. Franklin
Owner, Pine Island Designs
Washington, DC

Alisha Griffey
Founder and CEO, Daintree Capital
Chevy Chase, MD

Annie Huber
Community Volunteer
Reisterstown, MD

Pier LaFarge
Co-founder and CEO, Sparkfund
Washington, DC

Frank Loy 
Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs 
Washington, DC 

Tom Monahan 
President and CEO, DeVry University
Founder and Managing Partner, Norton Street Capital 
Chevy Chase, MD 

Kirsten Quigley
Founder & CEO, Lunchskins
Bethesda, MD

Pamela Smith 
Former U.S. Ambassador 
Washington, DC

David J. Steinberg
CEO, SnappCloud, Inc.
Washington, DC

Crystal Romeo Upperman, PhD, MPA
Senior Scientist, Aclima
Washington, DC