Conservation Technology Team

Jeff AllenbyJeffrey Allenby, Director of Conservation Technology

Jeff is the Director of Conservation Technology at the Chesapeake Conservancy. His team explores new ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Conservancy’s projects and focuses on developing new ways to empower partner organizations by providing them with innovative ways to access geospatial data and analysis tools that will create beneficial management outcomes. He is currently investigating the use of high-resolution imagery and LIDAR elevation data to map land cover at the large landscape scale and is constructing interactive tools to better target BMP implementation and riparian conservation and restoration projects.

Before joining the Conservancy, Jeff worked with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources managing a competitive grant program that provided technical and financial support to local communities to realize and proactively adapt to climate change and coastal hazards. Jeff has a Masters of Environmental Management and Certificate in Geospatial Analysis from Duke University and a Bachelors of Science from the University of Richmond. Jeff enjoys running, mountain biking, and spending time with his wife, daughter, and two cats.


Chigo Ibeh, Geospatial Analyst 

Chigo works with the team on the high resolution Land Use/Land Cover classification data project for the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. In December of 2017, Chigo received his Master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and a Certificate in GIS from UMBC. Chigo grew up in Nigeria and is highly motivated by the need for global environmental awareness and conservation efforts through the use of technology and creative innovation. Chigo enjoys soccer, basketball and skydiving.


Louis Keddell, Geospatial Analyst 

Louis is a member of the high resolution land cover team and provides geospatial support for several conservation projects here at the Chesapeake Conservancy.  Louis has a Master of Arts degree in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Virginia Tech.  A local resident of Virginia and Maryland areas, Louis is excited to join the Conservancy in protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed by applying his geospatial experience for environmental analysis and conservation.  He also enjoys traveling and trying new foods.


Jacob Leizear, GIS Fellow

Jake works with both the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office and the Chesapeake Conservancy to achieve shared geospatial project goals. A recent graduate from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and a Certificate in GIS, Jake has a background in human GIS application, event planning, graphic design, and project management. Before coming on as the GIS Fellow, Jake assisted the Conservancy in developing the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Middle Branch Paddle Guide and worked closely with the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition to connect Baltimore residents with Baltimore’s parks and green spaces.

In his free time, Jake enjoys going to the movies, cooking, and camping.


Emily Mills, Geospatial Analyst

Emily supports Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership projects, such as analyzing change detection methodologies and land cover classification techniques, as well as other CIC projects including prioritizing restoration opportunities and creating land cover datasets for partners.

She graduated with a Master’s in Environmental Management from Duke University in May 2017 and has a background in landscape ecology, conservation GIS, and remote sensing. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Biology from the Ohio State University.

Emily loves eating, traveling, reading, hiking, and playing/watching basketball.


Michael Norton, Geospatial Project Manager

Michael Norton oversees analytical projects with the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership. Some of his projects will include evaluating change detection methodologies and comparing different land cover classification techniques.

Mike has a background that includes agricultural economics research and the Peace Corps; most recently he was consulting for the World Bank and finishing his PhD in Geography at University of California, Davis. He holds a master’s degree from UC Davis in Agricultural and Resource Economics, a master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Mike is also an Adjunct Research Scientist at The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Mike likes watching baseball and superhero movies and hanging out with his wife and two young boys.


Cassandra Pallai, Program Manager

Cassandra is supporting the strategic planning efforts of the Conservancy and its partners through the application of remote sensing and geospatial techniques. Before becoming a member of the Conservancy team, Cassandra spent time studying forest ecology in North Carolina and cultivating stakeholders in the Rappahannock River watershed through community engagement, education, and restoration activities. She holds a Master’s of Environmental Management and a Geospatial Analysis Certificate from Duke University, as well as a Bachelors in Economics and Environmental Studies from Case Western Reserve University. Some of her favorite hobbies include having outdoor adventures, traveling, plant ID, baking, and crafts with friends, family, and her dog Murphy.



David Saavedra, Geospatial Analyst

David is a member of the analyst team working to produce high-resolution land cover and other geospatial data across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These data are critical for informing conservation efforts throughout the watershed. Prior to joining the Chesapeake Conservancy, David worked for the United States Geological Survey Eastern Geographic Science Center mapping headwater streams using LiDAR and modeling sediment fluxes throughout the Bay watershed. David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and has a background in hydrology and geospatial analysis. A native of Southern Maryland, David enjoys fishing, brewing beer, and spending time outdoors.


Rachel Soobitsky, Geospatial Analyst

Rachel is excited to join the Conservation Innovation Center team. She will be assisting with developing data and analyses in support of the organization’s conservation programs. Before joining the CIC, she held GIS Analyst positions at NASA and NOAA on a variety of environmental projects. In addition, she gained experience in the field as a Layout Foreman at a stream restoration company.

Rachel will receive her Master’s in Geospatial Information Science from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) in December 2017. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Sustainability from UMCP. Her hobbies include traveling, yoga, reading, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.


Colin Stief, Senior Applications Manager

Colin is helping the Conservancy find new ways to use digital media and geospatial technology to inform conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay. In particular, he is interested in developing intuitive web and desktop applications that can automate tedious, but critical, analytical tasks and transform raw data into meaningful information.  Prior to his current position, Colin built and maintained trails at Olympic National Park, worked at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and taught English overseas.  He has a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography from Miami University in Ohio.  In his free time, he dabbles with graphic design, reads a lot of Isaac Asimov and plays basketball as much as he can.