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

This page was updated on December 15, 2020.

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 and public policy efforts, and establishes overall conservation priorities for the chapter. In May 2019, Allison was tapped to serve as interim executive director of the Delaware 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 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."

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.”

A man wearing a hat, sunglasses and red flotation device. A line of trees edges the water behind him.
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."

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 joined the chapter in October 2018, and 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 man wearing a black fleece stands in front of a TNC green infrastructure project under construction at a cemetery.
Kahlil Kettering Urban Conservation Program Director © Trent Burns / Casey Trees

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." 

Close cropped head shot of a smiling man wearing a suit and red tie.
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.”

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 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 leads 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."

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

Kate joined our western Maryland forests team in January, 2019.  Her 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."

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."



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 
Senior Engagement and Communications Officer,
International Finance Corporation
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