Board of Directors

Douglas P. Wheeler, Chairman

Doug Wheeler is a conservationist and lawyer who has held leadership posts in national and state natural resource organizations, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Sierra Club, the American Farmland Trust, and the World Wildlife Fund and served on the boards of national conservation groups. A resident of Washington, D.C., he first joined the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1969, serving as assistant legislative counsel.

He later became the deputy assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. From 1991 to 1999, Wheeler served as California’s Secretary for Natural Resources, exercising responsibility for all of the state’s natural and cultural resource programs.

Wheeler is a graduate of Hamilton College and the Duke University School of Law. He serves as an advisor on conservation and environmental policy to the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke, and is a partner in the environmental practice of Hogan Lovells US, LLP in Washington, D.C.

Stephen HarperVice Chairman

Stephen Harper is Global Director, Environment, Energy and Sustainability Policy, at the Intel Corporation. In that capacity, he is responsible for advising senior management and leading company influencing efforts on a wide variety of topics, ranging from chemicals management to energy efficiency, water policy and the role of Intel’s products in helping meet society’s toughest sustainability challenges.

Outside Intel, Harper is widely known as a connoisseur of all things Irish, both solid and liquid. Harper serves on the Board of Directors of the Energy Foundation, the Center for Environmental Policy at American University and the Chesapeake Conservancy. He is an adjunct professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Prior to Intel, Harper served in senior positions at Amoco Oil Company, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ICF Consulting, and the California State Coastal Conservancy. He has served in these positions while continuing to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a professional rodeo clown. Stephen has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, where he graduated with highest honors. He also has a Master’s in International Affairs from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In his spare time, he studied city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania.

Robert Gensler, Treasurer

Rob Gensler is a professional investor who retired in 2012, after 30 years working in investments. He joined T. Rowe Price in 1993 as a financial analyst, working also as a media & telecommunications analyst, and then as portfolio manager for the Media & Telecommunications Strategy, the Global Technology Strategy, and finally for the Global Equity Strategy during his 20 years with the firm.

Prior to joining T. Rowe Price, Gensler worked for Salomon Brothers and Smith New Court in global risk arbitrage management, and for several years with the Botswana Development Corporation.

Gensler earned his BS in economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and his MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, and studied for a year at the London School of Economics.

Jane DanowitzSecretary

Jane Danowitz is the senior officer, environment for The Pew Charitable Trusts where she oversees the development and production of new strategies and campaign proposals for the Environment program’s three issues areas: global ocean conservation, terrestrial wilderness protection and clean energy. She also has served as director of Pew’s U.S. public lands program, which seeks to preserve America’s wildlands through federal legislative and regulatory protections.

Before joining Pew, Danowitz led multiple public interest and political initiatives including directing an effort to revitalize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and serving as head of the Women’s Campaign Fund where she helped to increase significantly the number of women holding elective office. She also has served as an aide in municipal government and on Capitol Hill.

Danowitz holds a B.A. in American history from Cornell University, and a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America.

Nicholas H. Dilks

Nick Dilks is a managing partner of Ecosystem Investment Partners (EIP), a private equity fund manager that acquires and manages high priority conservation properties across the United States and delivers competitive returns to its investors through the use of new, market-based mechanisms that reward landowners for the restoration and protection of their natural resources.

Before founding EIP in 2006, Dilks managed The Conservation Fund’s real estate program nationwide as its Vice President for Real Estate. In that position, he helped the Fund conserve over 2 million acres, worth $1 Billion.

Dilks graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy in 1996, and earned his M.B.A from the University of Maryland’s RH Smith School of Business.

Joel E. Dunn

Joel Dunn is president and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy. Prior to joining the Conservancy, Dunn spearheaded government relations and project management in the Chesapeake region for The Conservation Fund. His work helped establish protection for National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges and National Trails, including the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Dunn has also worked on Capitol Hill and in conservation science.

Dunn earned a Master of Public Policy from the Terry Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and a Master of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences from Duke University, where he was a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College. In 2010, Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment gave him their Rising Star Award for his work in conservation. Dunn lives in Annapolis with his wife, daughter and two Labrador retrievers.

Holly A. Evans

Holly Evans is senior attorney for the Microsoft Corporation, where she is responsible for all environmental, energy, and sustainability issues that impact Microsoft’s hardware and software business lines, including energy efficiency, restricted substances, recycling and recovery, as well as eco-labels and responsible supply chain sourcing.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Evans served for twelve years as President of Strategic Counsel, LLC – a boutique environmental law firm that represented members of the electronics industry on environmental, energy, and sustainability matters.  Evans served as the deputy general counsel and director of environmental policy for the Electronic Industries Alliance as well as the vice president of Government Affairs for the IPC – the Association Connecting Electronics Industries.

Prior to representing private industry on environmental, energy and environmental matters, Evans served as a fellow for U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman in the U.S. Senate.  Evans received her B.A. degree from Tufts University, J.D. from the University of Connecticut, School of Law, M.S. in environmental policy from the University of Michigan, a master’s in environmental law from the Vermont Law School.

Evans lives with her husband and two children in Alexandria, Virginia. Her hobbies include travelling, skiing, boating and watching sporting events.

Robert Friend

Bob Friend is the executive vice president and general manager of District Photo Inc., a position he has held for 22 years. Founded in 1949, District Photo has become one of the largest digital fulfillment companies in the world with three plants in the United States and one in the United Kingdom.  With more than 1,500 employees, District owns and serves both e-commerce consumers and major retailers throughout the world through companies like Amazon, Costco, Walgreens, and Walmart, among others.

He holds a BA degree in History/Political Science from Alfred University.

Heather Gartman

Heather Gartman is managing director of Chandler Chicco Agency’s Washington D.C., office. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing communications, public relations, and reputation and issues management.

Gartman has extensive experience in crisis communications and issues management and is a trained focus group moderator.

Paul E. Hagen, Esq.

Paul Hagen is an attorney practicing in the areas of U.S. and international environmental law. In this capacity he counsels leading multinational corporations and trade associations on environmental compliance, product stewardship and resource protection measures in the U.S. and in key markets worldwide.

He serves on the board of The Conservation Fund, and has served on the boards of several other leading non-profits, including the World Environment Center, the Environmental Law Institute, and the American Bird Conservancy. Hagen has taught as an adjunct professor of law at the Washington College of Law at American University. He received his B.A. from Providence College in 1986 and earned his J.D. from Washington College of Law at the American University in 1990.

Michael Hankin

Michael Hankin is the president and chief executive officer of Brown Advisory, a position he has held since the firm became independent from Bankers Trust / Alex Brown & Sons in 1998.

He has spent more than 30 years assisting a wide range of individuals and institutions on their investment and financial matters. He was formerly a partner with the law firm of Piper & Marbury (now DLA Piper) headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hankin received his B.A. and M.A. from Emory University, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia, School of Law.

Verna Harrison

Verna Harrison is the principal of Verna Harrison Associates, LLC, providing consulting services in public policy development and implementation, coalition building, facilitation, strategic planning, and board development.

Verna served as executive director for The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment from its inception in 2003 until 2014. During that period the Foundation granted over $52 million dollars throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed, strategically targeted to protect living resources, reduce key sources of nutrient pollution, and increase advocacy. As co-chair of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, she helped focus and leverage foundation activity in the region.

For the previous 20 years she was Assistant Secretary of the MD Department of Natural Resources: managing water quality monitoring, geologic, power plant, and coastal zone programs (1995-2003); directing Bay policy for the MD Governor’s Office (1988-1995); managing the forest, park wildlife, tidal and freshwater fishery, police, and environmental trust units (1983-1987). She served as Governor Hughes’ assistant legislative officer, lobbyist for the MD Department of Transportation, and staff of the MD Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

She has received leadership awards from organizations including the YWCA, National Wildlife Federation, National Parks Conservation Association, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Chesapeake Bay Commission, EPA, and USFWS. Most recently she was presented with the Clean Water Fund Defender of Clean Water Award, MD League of Conservation Voters Lifetime Achievement Award, Trout Unlimited Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, and her third Admiral of the Chesapeake Bay.

Verna has a B.A. in political science from the University of Maryland, and completed the Senior Executive Program at the J.F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Barbara Jackson

Barbara Jackson is the senior vice president of Commercial Banking at BB&T and is very engaged in the local community, possessing the relationships and affiliations to help the Conservancy reach local and regional supporters. She formed the BB&T Women’s Networking Group, which includes many high-profile successful business women in the Annapolis community and is passionate about fundraising for the organizations that she has served on their Board.

Jackson has served as a board member for American Heart Association, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Annapolis Rotary Club, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

Turney McKnight

Turney McKnight is a retired attorney and beef cattle farmer from White Hall, MD. He is President of the Sumner T. McKnight Foundation. McKnight holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

He currently serves on the boards of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Chesapeake Conservancy, Gettysburg Battlefield Foundation, and Harford Land Trust.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, have three children.

Edward T. McMahon

Ed McMahon is a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute where he specializes in environmental policy and community revitalization. Before joining the Urban Land Institute in 2004, McMahon spent 14 years as the vice president and director of land use programs for The Conservation Fund, where he helped to protect more than five million acres of land of historic or natural significance. He is also the co-founder and former president of Scenic America, a national non-profit organization devoted to protecting America’s scenic landscapes. Before that, he taught law and public policy at Georgetown University Law Center for nine years, and served in the U.S. Army, both at home and abroad.

McMahon is the author or co-author of 15 books and more than 500 articles. His books include: Balancing Nature and Commerce in Gateway CommunitiesBetter Models for Development in Virginia and Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space and Agriculture. McMahon also writes regularly for Urban Land Magazine, Planning Commissioners Journal and other periodicals. During the past 30 years, McMahon has worked with more than 600 communities in all 50 states on a wide variety of land use and economic development issues.

McMahon has served on numerous advisory boards and commissions including: the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Maryland, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Home Depot Foundation and the Orton Family Foundation.

McMahon has a BS from Spring Hill College; an M.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Alabama, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School. He and his wife live in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Jeffery More

Jeffery More is a principal at The Alpine Group in Washington, DC where he represents a number of leading water, environment and conservation interests. His current clients include the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, Zurich Insurance, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Pheasants Forever, the Water Systems Council, Progressive Waste Solutions and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Prior to joining the Alpine Group, More served as counsel and professional staff to the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, 1993 – 2000, and staffed the Speaker’s Task Force on the Environment during the 104th Congress.

More began his career in the office of Congressman Sherwood Boehlert in 1988. More is a nationally recognized authority on water infrastructure and conservation finance policy and is a contributing author to From Walden to Wall Street (Island Press).

John G. Neely

John Neely is a principal with Neely – German Financial, a financial services firm in Annapolis, Maryland. He has more than 35 years of experience helping individuals and businesses with their insurance and investment needs.

He has served on numerous community boards, including Severn School, Rotary of Annapolis, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church and is a past president of NAIFA-Maryland, his state trade association. He is a founding member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Neely was appointed and commissioned by Governor Larry Hogan as a member of the Maryland Sport Fisheries Advisory Commission.

A passionate fly fisherman, he is a life member of Trout Unlimited.

Neely graduated from Hillsdale College with a B.A. in economics and earned his M.B.A from the Mason School at the College of William and Mary.

Richard Scobey

Rick Scobey is the deputy director general at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., with responsibility for managing the evaluation of Bank Group performance and results.

He has worked for the Bank Group for 29 years, including as advisor to the vice president of the Africa Region, with responsibility for partnerships and innovation; director for regional integration, managing a portfolio of $3 billion in regional infrastructure projects; and manager for Agriculture and Environment in Africa.

Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked as an investment banker in Africa, a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi, and a fellow at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Sweden.

He has served on the Board of Directors for numerous community organizations including the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Academy Art Museum, Pickering Creek Audubon Center, and Frederick Douglass Honor Society.

He obtained a B.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from Brown University, and a M.A. in management from Yale School of Organization and Management.

Anne W. Scott

Anne Scott is the president and CEO of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Previously, she served as executive director of programs at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation in London, where she was responsible for the performance management of the organization’s global portfolio of grants and other impact investments.

Scott holds a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in finance, accounting and audit from the University of Kent in the UK. She completed post-doctoral fellowships in science and diplomacy with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in health and child survival at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

She lives in Crozet, Virginia with her two teenage sons, Labrador retriever, and Jack Russell terrier, making frequent visits to her family home in Chestertown, MD. She enjoys sailing, horseback riding, photography and writing.

Robert G. Stanton

Bob Stanton has more than 40 years of experience with the U.S. Department of the Interior, serving most recently as a senior advisor to the secretary of the Interior, and as Director of the National Park Service from 1997-2001. In 2014, he was appointed by the President to a four-year term on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Stanton holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Huston-Tillotson University and did his graduate work at Boston University. He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Texas A&M University, Huston-Tillotson University, Unity College, Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College and North Carolina State University.

Honorary Board Members

Gilbert M. Grosvenor

Gil Grosvenor is chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society. He retired as chairman of National Geographic Society’s Education Foundation in February, 2012 and as chairman of the National Geographic Society’s board of trustees in December, 2010, a position he had held since 1987.

Grosvenor served as president of National Geographic from 1980 to 1996, the fifth generation of his family to have served in that capacity. He began his career with National Geographic in 1954 as a picture editor and was editor in chief of National Geographic from 1970 to 1980, when he assumed his position as the Society’s 14th president.

Grosvenor serves as a director or trustee of several foundations and corporations, including Chevy Chase Trust and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. He is a member emeritus of the Board of Visitors of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment; former vice chairman of the President’s Commission on Americans outdoors; and former member of the President’s Commission on Environmental Quality.

In June 2004, Grosvenor was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He graduated from Yale University in 1954.


U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes

U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (Ret.) has been a champion for the environment, for conservation and for the Chesapeake Bay since he was first elected to public office in 1966.   As a member of the Maryland General Assembly he co-authored the public law creating the real estate transfer tax mechanism for financing Maryland’s Program Open Space – one of the most progressive programs to fund state and local parks and land conservation in the country.   He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 and to the United States Senate in 1976, where he served five terms and helped enact every major piece of legislation to enhance the nation’s environmental quality — including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and Superfund, to name only a few.

Senator Sarbanes was born in Salisbury, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he fostered his love of the Chesapeake.   “If a state could have a soul, Maryland’s would be the Chesapeake,” he often said.  As Chair of the Maryland Congressional Delegation and as the senior member of Congress from the Chesapeake watershed, Sarbanes led Congressional efforts to restore the health of the Chesapeake from 1987 to his retirement in 2007.  Among his legislative accomplishments are:  EPA’s Chesapeake Restoration Act, the restoration of Poplar Island, NOAA’s Chesapeake statutory authority and Bay   Education Program, the federal native oyster restoration program, the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Program, and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, enacted in 2006.  He has received numerous awards and recognition from the National and Maryland Leagues of Conservation Voters, the Waterkeeper Alliance, and the University of Maryland’s Truitt Award, among others, for his environmental achievements.

Senator Sarbanes graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University.   His son, John Sarbanes, was elected to Maryland’s 3rd congressional district in 2006, the district that Paul Sarbanes represented for three terms prior to his election as senator.

Charles A. Stek

Charlie Stek has worked for over 35 years to restore and foster greater understanding and stewardship of the Chesapeake watershed. He currently serves as chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program and chairs a partnership dedicated to creating the first new National Marine Sanctuary on the Chesapeake in the Mallows Bay area of the Potomac River. He is an honorary member and the first Chairman of the Board of the Chesapeake Conservancy, a member of the federal Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Advisory Council, and president and CEO of his own consulting firm – Environmental Stewardship Strategies. Stek also served for seven years as policy director for the National No Child Left Inside Coalition and for four years on the Board of the Maryland Historical Trust. He is an avid kayaker, bicyclist, and hiker who has explored much of the Chesapeake.

As projects director for U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, Stek led the congressional delegation’s Chesapeake restoration efforts for 22 years. He developed and enacted many of the Bay Program’s federal initiatives including: EPA’s, NOAA’s, the National Park Service’s and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Chesapeake restoration programs; the Small Watersheds, Bay Watershed Education and Training (BWET), and Gateways and Watertrails Programs; the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the largest habitat restoration project ever undertaken in the Chesapeake – Poplar Island, among others.

U.S. Senator John Warner

John Warner is a former United States Senator who represented the state of Virginia for five terms, serving from 1979 to 2009. Since retiring, Senator Warner has rejoined the law firm of Hogan Lovells, where he was employed prior to joining the U.S. Department of Defense.

Senator Warner served as Secretary of the Navy from 1972 to 1974 and is a veteran of World War II. Senator Warner spent his early life in Washington, D.C. and after serving one year in the Navy following his graduation from high school, attended Washington and Lee University where he graduated from in 1949.

Senator Warner went on to study law at the University of Virginia, though he postponed his legal education to again support the nation in the Korean War. Upon his return, Senator Warner resumed his legal studies taking classes at the George Washington University, receiving his degree in 1953.

He went on to clerk for Chief Judge E. Barrett Prettyman of the U.S. Court of Appeals and in 1956 he became an assistant U.S. attorney.