Stories in Maryland/DC

Our Staff

Science and policy in action

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

Executive Director
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."

Deputy Executive Director
Allison Vogt Deputy Executive Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Allison Vogt, Deputy Executive Director

Allison provides strategic leadership and support for the Conservancy’s conservation planning work 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."

Director of Land Management
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.”

Chesapeake Bay Lead Scientist
Dr. Kathleen Boomer Chesapeake Bay Lead Scientist © TNC

Dr. Kathleen Boomer, Chesapeake Bay Lead Scientist

Kathy guides our clean water efforts within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, building collaborative partnerships and advancing adaptive management of our water resources.

“It's exciting to realize the potential for global collaboration to advance our local efforts."

Chesapeake Bay Program Director
Mark Bryer Chesapeake Bay Program Director © Severn Smith / TNC

Mark Bryer, Chesapeake Bay Program Director

Mark coordinates the Conservancy’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."

Director of State and Federal Government Relations
Mollie Byron Director of State and Federal Government Relations © TNC

Mollie Byron, Director of State and Federal Government Relations

Mollie leads our efforts in building relationships with elected officials in Maryland and DC and advocating for legislative solutions that promote clean water, healthy forests, and resilient coasts.

"I’m passionate about building meaningful partnerships with elected officials to help advance our conservation goals."

Conservation Steward
Gabe Cahalan Conservation Steward © Severn Smith / TNC

Gabe Cahalan, Conservation Steward

As a burn boss, Gabe is involved in fire management on both Conservancy and partner lands, working to return this critical natural process to the landscape.  In his role as preserve manager he oversees Conservancy 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."

Conservation Project Manager
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.”

Coastal Communities Project Manager
Joe Fehrer Coastal Communities Project Manager © TNC

Joe Fehrer, Coastal Communities Project Manager

Joe grew up near Nassawango Creek Preserve and began his Conservancy career in 1978 as a volunteer.  He works with local and community partners on the Eastern Shore to address issues around climate change and sea level rise, and with state and regional partners to advance land protection and restoration efforts in both Maryland and Virginia.

“Making a positive difference and achieving tangible and lasting results is very important to me. Working with dedicated colleagues and partners gives me great hope for the future."

Agriculture Program Director
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.”

Resilient Forests Program Director
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."

Kahlil Kettering, Urban Conservation Program Director
Kahlil Kettering Kahlil Kettering, Urban Conservation Program Director © Severn Smith / The Nature Conservancy

Kahlil Kettering, Urban Conservation Program Director

Kahlil is developing new conservation strategies in DC centered on implementing projects that elevate the intersection of protecting nature in urban areas and the benefits nature provides to people in cities.

"The opportunity to create positive change that benefits both the environment and the community is what drew me to The Nature Conservancy." 

Director of Policy Development
Josh Kurtz Director of Policy Development © TNC

Josh Kurtz, Director of Policy Development

Josh works on policy and funding initiatives in the Maryland General Assembly and DC City Council that focus on climate resilience, clean water, and land conservation.  He also supports advocacy with Maryland’s Federal Delegation.

“I love my work because it allows me to protect and conserve the places that shaped me as a person.”

Conservation Ecologist
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."

Resilient Coasts Program Director
Kelly Leo Resilient Coasts Program Director © TNC

Kelly Leo, Resilient Coasts Program Director

Kelly joined the Maryland/DC chapter in January 2018, but has worked for the Conservancy for ten years.  She was part of TNC’s first coastal resilience project on Long Island in 2006 and will lead our efforts 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."

Director of Science
Ariana Sutton-Grier Director of Science © TNC

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier, Director of Science

Ariana leads the chapter's multi-disciplinary science team to implement strategies to achieve resilient coasts, healthy forests, and clean water. 

"I am excited to be part of such a dedicated conservation-focused team, and I am eager to explore how best to use my expertise to support the conservation work of the chapter."