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 Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Roanoke College and a Master 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.

mailto:psmith@chesapeakeconservancy.orgPatrick Smith, Communications and Partnership Assistant

Patrick is the Communications and Partnership Assistant working with both the Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office. Previously, Patrick worked for Pride of Baltimore II and Schooner Woodwind. He is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in History. In his free time he enjoys playing with his dogs, gardening, and sailing.


Michael grew up in Calvert County, Maryland along the local beaches which he has gone to every summer since he can remember. He is excited to join the Chesapeake Conservancy team and work with the Roving Ranger. He is a graduate of Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in History. While at Salisbury University, he was a member of the Thomas E. Bellavance Honors College and a co-leader of the Environmental Students Association. Michael is a passionate environmentalist and has experience leading several environmentally sustainable initiatives, including the creation of a campus food pantry, a student moveout drive, a campus waste and energy audit, and passing of legislation to have the Town of Berlin, Maryland certified as a ‘Bee City’. He also presented research at Salisbury University’s Student Research Conference on environmental justice issues within the Arctic as well as on the conservation of spotted turtles on the Delmarva Peninsula. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, swimming, and promoting environmentally friendly habits.

Stephanie Gorham

Stephanie joins the Chesapeake Conservancy this year as a seasonal assistant outreach assistant and Roving Ranger staff. She is a graduate of Salisbury University where she earned her BA in Environmental Studies and minored in history. Before joining the Chesapeake Conservancy team she worked as a husbandry aid for the Delmarva Discovery Center in Pocomoke, Maryland as well as an assistant educator with the Nashville Zoo. She has experience working with local wildlife and enjoys being around different types of animals. She loves learning about the history of the Bay and has a passion for teaching. One day she hopes to gain her Ph.D. in environmental history and become a professor. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys reading or going on hikes with her dog.

Chris Barry, Wildlife Webcam Intern

Chris joined the communications team to help with public relations and outreach concerning our wildlife webcams this spring and summer.  Chris graduated from Indian Creek School, Crownsville, Maryland and has a strong interest in ornithology, wildlife biology, and conservation.  He is an active member of the Anne Arundel Birders Club and the Maryland Ornithological Society.  Chris participated in the 2014 – 2017 World Series of Birding contests and was part of the winning team for Youth Carbon Free Division in 2017.  In addition to birding, Chris is also an avid local fisherman and enjoys fossil hunting, baseball, flag football, and playing the piano.  As a member of Boy Scout Troop 396 in Annapolis, Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in October 2017.  He will be attending Cornell University in 2019.