News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Environmental Trust Elects New Chairman

Crownsville, MD (June 21, 2010) — The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) has named James O’ Connell as the new Chairman of the Board of Trustees. O’Connell has served as a trustee of the MET since 2006. MET works with private landowners and local land trusts to permanently protect scenic open space, forests and working lands, primarily through donated conservation easements.

“I'm thrilled to be serving MET at such a critical time in the organization’s history,” said O’Connell. “Land conservation in Maryland needs to be a priority in order to keep up with the state’s increasing development and rising population. The restoration of the Chesapeake Bay depends on the protection of the wetlands, forests and open space in the watershed.”

O’Connell is the President of the Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy, a local land trust for the Montgomery County Western Agricultural Reserve. He is also a life member of Trout Unlimited and the Izaak Walton League of America.

A resident of Montgomery County, O’Connell owns a farm which is protected with a Rural Legacy easement. He and his family have preserved three properties in Dorchester County with conservation easements.

O'Connell is a senior partner at O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Maryland and Georgetown Law School. Following service as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, he joined the firm, where he has worked for more than 30 years.

O’Connell succeeds K. King Burnett, who completed his term as chair on May 30. Also elected to the Board of Trustees were James Constable, who will serve as Vice Chair; Ann Holmes Jones, who will continue as Secretary, and Jay Plager as Treasurer.

MET was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly to preserve privately owned farm and forest lands and significant natural resources. MET holds more than 1000 easements, protecting over 125,000 acres of forest, farmland and scenic open space across the state of Maryland. MET is a statewide land trust affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and governed by a citizen board of trustees. For more information about MET, please visit

   June 21, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at