Our Team


Joel Dunn, President & CEO

Joel Dunn is president and CEO of Chesapeake Conservancy, a non-profit organization based in Annapolis, MD dedicated to protecting Chesapeake landscapes that are vital to the health of the Bay and its cultural heritage.  With a regional population approaching 18 million and growing and with tens of thousands of acres of open space vanishing each year, the Conservancy strives to restore the health of the Bay and its rivers by preserving working farms and forests and protecting the region’s rich history and character, ensuring a brighter future for the Bay for generations to come. Read More…

 

Meet the full programs team here.

Administration

Sarah ElderSarah Elder, Director of Operations

Sarah brings more than 25 years of leadership and management experience in business, budgeting, strategic planning, staffing, operations, fundraising, marketing, retail/tourism, and communications to the Conservancy. Previously, Sarah guided fundraising and communications efforts for the AUA Foundation, where she worked with national organizations such as the National Football League and Kimberly Clark Corporation. She also has directed fundraising and operational needs for conservation and preservation organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Historic Annapolis Foundation, and the National Aquarium.  An Annapolis native, Sarah enjoys exploring the Chesapeake Bay with family and friends, any musical activity, and can be found most weekends upcycling “finds” from estate sales, flea markets, and antique shows.


Colleen Whitlock, Director of Administration

Colleen’s diverse experiences as a deckhand on a replica 18th century Schooner, a customer service agent at a Fortune 500 company, a classroom educator, a costumed holiday tour guide, and a mother have all helped prepare her to be the Director of Administration at the Chesapeake Conservancy.  In this position, Colleen is responsible for the financial management of the organization as well as human resources, federal contracting, and general office administration.  She holds a B.A. in History from Washington College and an M.A.T. in Elementary Education from East Tennessee State University.  She recently spent a week at Duke University earning her Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership.  In her spare time, of which there is very little, Colleen enjoys visiting local parks and museums with her husband and young daughter.

Meet the full administrative team here.

Communications

Jody Hedeman Couser, Director of Communications

A native of Annapolis, Jody oversees the Conservancy’s public and media relations. Previously, Jody was principal of River Bay Communications, LLC and press secretary for a Maryland gubernatorial candidate.  She served on the cabinet for Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens as director of communications; as public information officer for the American Medical Association (AMA); director of communications and development for the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and as production manager at The Kamber Group. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Roanoke College and a Master’s in Political Management from The George Washington University. Jody lives in Annapolis with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys traveling, boating on the Chesapeake Bay, and has a knack for finding arrowheads.

Meet the full communications team here.

Conservation Innovation Center

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 and two cats.

Meet the full conservation technology team here.

Development

Melissa  Ehrenreich, Director of Development 

As director of development, Melissa leads our fundraising efforts and outreach to foundations, corporations and individuals. She brings years of development and partnership expertise to our team, with a background in conservation. Most recently, Ehrenreich served as the executive director of the D.C. Social Innovation Project, a social enterprise and innovation incubator focused on tackling the root causes of poverty in Washington, D.C. She also served in numerous roles with the Ocean Conservancy from 2006 to 2013, including capital campaign manager, director of program effectiveness, and acting director of the Trash Free Seas initiative. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland at College Park and spent her college years researching on the Choptank River. Ehrenreich lives in Greenbelt, MD and enjoys hunting edible mushrooms, native plant gardening, and forest hikes with her husband and three sons.

Meet the full development team here.