Board Of Trustees
The Maryland Environmental Trust is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees. Twelve trustees are volunteer citizens representing diverse areas of the state; the remaining three are ex-officio members—the Governor, Speaker of the House, and President of the Senate. The Trust is assisted by Area Representatives who work directly with the Board. The Board of Trustees meets on the first MONDAY of the month at least six times a year. See MET Event & Meeting Schedule.
James W. Constable (CHAIR) is a partner at Wright, Constable & Skeen, L.L.P. in Baltimore. Mr. Constable’s practice includes corporate and business Law real estate, commercial transactions, transportation law, commercial litigation, arbitration, estate planning, non-profits, conservation easements, dispute resolution, railroad law and utility law. Mr. Constable has written numerous publications on conservation easements and estate planning. Mr. Constable is president and chairman of The Manor Conservancy and is the former chair of Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission. Mr. Constable is resident of Baltimore County.
Honorable S. Jay Plager (VICE CHAIR) is a Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit Washington. Prior to his appointment, Judge Plager
served in the Executive Office of the President from 1987 to 1989, as Associate
Director of OMB and as Administrator, OIRA. He served as Counselor to the Under
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, from 1986 to 1987. Judge
Plager was Dean of the Indiana University School of Law from 1977 to 1984. He
has served as Professor, Visiting Professor, or Fellow at the following
institutions: University of Illinois College of Law, University of Florida
College of Law, Stanford University Law School, University of Wisconsin School
of Law, George Mason School of Law, Trinity College, and Cambridge University
(England). His areas of teaching and research include land use regulation,
property law, and environmental law. He resides in St. Michaels, Talbot County,
and has three children, six grandchildren, and a boat.
Doris Blazek-White (TREASURER) is Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC, whose practice focuses on trusts and estates, including estate planning, administration and tax issues, tax exempt organizations, including private foundations; probate, and wills. She served as an associate of Judge Warren H. Young, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands from 1968 to 1970. Her professional activities include serving as a member of the American College of Trusts & Estates Counsel and as a member and former president of the Washington, DC Estate Planning Council. She serves as a member of the Advisory Committee on Probate and Fiduciary Rules of the DC Superior Court. Ms. Blazek-White is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2011-2012) for Trusts and Estates. She lives in Claiborne, Maryland with her husband Tad.
Steven P. Quarles (SECRETARY) is a partner in, the Washington, DC office of the law firm Sedgwick LLP. His practice focuses on endangered species, other federal wildlife law, and federal land law and includes representation of a wide range of energy, forestry, agricultural, and other natural resource associations and companies, state and local governments, and land conservation trusts. He has served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and Deputy Under Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Mr. Quarles currently sits on the boards of the American Forest Foundation, Henry M. Jackson Foundation, Bat Conservation International, and Pacific Forest Trust.. Mr. Quarles and his spouse, Suzanne, own Some Day Soon Farm in Frederick County, one of the largest Hanoverian horse breeding farms in Maryland.
Goodloe E. (Geb) Byron, Jr. is Chairman of the Maryland Venture Capital Trust, a member of the Maryland Venture Fund Authority, and former Chairman of the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund, which was established to oversee the liquidation of failed state-insured savings and loans. Mr. Byron is also a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Higher Education Investment Fund and the Board of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Mr. Byron's family has been involved in conservation in Maryland for many years. His parents, both members of Congress, were instrumental in protecting the C&O Canal, Monocacy Battlefield, the Appalachian Trail, and Antietam Battlefield. He lives on a historic farm that was part of the Battle of South Mountain. He is CEO and Managing Director of Potomac Asset Management.
David Greene retired after a 35 year career with the University of Maryland College Park holding positions as Research Farm Manager, Extension Agent, Agriculture Science and County Extension Director. David Greene currently operates a 100 acre sheep farm in northern Baltimore County with his wife Nancy. David has served as an Ex Officio member of the Carroll County Agriculture Land Preservation Board and the Carroll County Land Trust Board. He has been a member and Chair of the Baltimore County Land Preservation Advisory Board. David has served two terms on the Met Board. David Greene is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology. He has a Master of Science degree from the same institution in Education.
Philip R. Hager is a native of Western Maryland and a life-long resident of Maryland. He has enjoyed a diverse career in planning, land use, environmental restoration, and public policy analysis at the Federal, regional and local government levels. He also has significant private sector experience as a land use, location analysis, and water resources planning consultant. Mr. Hager has worked as a Demographer and Public Facilities Planner for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Prince George’s County, as Director of Comprehensive Planning in Worcester County, as Executive Director of Planning & Zoning in Allegany County, and as a Planning and Project Development Team Leader for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Currently, he serves as the Director of the Carroll County Department of Land Use, Planning & Development. He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Frostburg State University, where he majored in History, Political Science and Social Science and he did his Masters work in Intergovernmental Policy Analysis at George Washington University. Additionally, he holds several professional certifications. Phil is active in the community having served as a member of the Historic District Commission for the City of Frostburg, as National Governmental Affairs Program Manager, National Parliamentarian and National Vice President of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, as a state officer and former President of the Maryland Jaycees, as former Chair and Vice Chair of both the Lower Eastern Shore and Upper Potomac Tributary Strategies Implementation Teams, and as Regional Representative for the Maryland Environmental Trust. Phil also provides planning and water resources services on a no-cost basis to a number of non-profit organizations. An active member of the Maryland Association of Counties, he currently serves as President of the MACO Planners’ Affiliate.
Julia Jitkoff is an artist and investor. She has over 40 years involvement in agribusiness, including cattle, cash crops, orchards, water rights and plant nursery. She has been active in civic and cultural organizations relating to agriculture, the arts, environmental conservation, and education in Texas, Colorado and on the East Coast. Ms. Jitkoff is a professional sculptor and ceramist and has been shown in New York, Texas, Colorado, New Jersey and Maryland. She and her husband have a horse farm in Glyndon, Maryland.
Constance Lieder, FAICP, is a retired city planner who has been a senior government executive, consultant and university professor. She still consults, as a volunteer, for several groups. Ms. Lieder served as Maryland’s Secretary of State Planning for ten years, 1979-1989, under two governors, directing capital, physical and environmental planning, including for the Bay and smart growth. She taught graduate school and has lectured extensively. She has consulted in the Baltimore area, throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Great Britain on urban development, housing and tourism. Active in national organizations, she was the first woman president of the American Institute of Planners and on the boards of the American Planning Assoc. and National Housing Conference. A Trustee of MET since 1989, she served as Chair for eight years. She is the president of the newly formed Maryland Land Conservation Foundation. Ms. Lieder lives in Baltimore City and owns a farm in Carroll County.
Jim Morris is Principal and Senior Ecologist of Ecotone, Inc., an environmental consulting firm specializing in wetland, forest, stream and natural resource assessment, restoration and regulatory guidance. He has over 17 years of professional experience, is a recognized expert, a Certified Wetland Delineator and Certified Professional Wetland Scientist. In his work and community activities, he has advocated conservation easements and other land conservation programs. Mr. Morris resides in Harford County.
James R. O’Connell has served as a trustee since 2006. He is President of the Sugarloaf Countryside Conservancy, a local land trust for the Montgomery County Western Agricultural Reserve and a life member of Trout Unlimited and a member of the Izaak Walton League of America. Mr. O'Connell is a senior partner in 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 has been involved in all aspects of the firm's practice for more than thirty years. Mr. O’Connell resides on his farm Montgomery County.
Senator Roy Dyson serves as the President of the Senate’s representative.
Delegate Dana Stein serves as the Speaker of the House’s Representative.
Tom McCarthy, Land Acquisition and Planning, Maryland Department of Natural Resources serves as the Governor’s Representative.
- Adam Block (Baltimore County/Baltimore City) is an Associate at Gallagher Evelius & Jones, LLP, a Baltimore law firm. Adam’s practice primarily includes commercial real estate transactions and general corporate and business law. Prior to joining the law firm, Adam worked for the Maryland Environmental Trust from 2005-2011, first as a Governor's Policy Fellow and later serving as both the Central Region Easement Planner and Legislative Liaison. During his tenure at MET, Adam helped nearly 50 landowners permanently protect more than 3,100 acres of land and natural resources with conservation easements. Adam has a B.S. in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire, a M.S. in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Maryland.
- Donald N. Briggs (Frederick County) is the Mayor of
Emmitsburg, Maryland. His community service includes serving as Chairman
of the Frederick County, MD Sustainability Commission from its inception
in 2009 through 2011; serving on the Frederick County Historic
Preservation Commission; and, current service on an Appraisal Foundation
select panel. Designations include MAI from the Appraisal Institute;
LEED AP+ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Accredited
Professional) from the US Green Building Council. Mr. Briggs is the
principal of Briggs Associates, Inc. a real estate appraisal and
consulting firm. Education includes an MA from Mount St Mary's
University and MALA from St. John's College, Annapolis - Santa Fe. A
significant part of Mr. Briggs professional and community service career
has been involved with the promotion of economic environmentalism as the
founder of the Catoctin Land Trust; a former MET Board member; and, as a
teacher/development team member of sustainable real property courses
with the Appraisal Institute and Maryland Association of Appraisers.
- Steve Bunker (Charles County) is the Director of
Conservation Programs at The Nature Conservancy and serves on the
Planning Commission of Charles County. He started working for the
Conservancy in 1992 as Director of Protection and has also held the
position of Director of Government Relations and Director of Government
Relations and Land Conservation. Prior to working for The Nature
Conservancy, Mr. Bunker worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as
Senior Staff Scientist and Assistant Director of the Lands Program. Mr.
Bunker has a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Zoology from the University
- Mary Burke is the Online Learning and
Curriculum Manager for the Land Trust Alliance where she serves as the
managing editor for the Standards and Practices Curriculum, the most
authoritative resource on private land conservation in the United
States. Mary also produces webinars and other resources for land trust
boards, including Field Guide, a quarterly newsletter on governance
issues. Prior to joining the Alliance, Mary worked for Sun Microsystems
where she developed custom training solutions for government, business
and education organizations. She has taught literature and writing at
the University of Maryland where she also earned her Ph.D. in English
Literature. Mary also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from
Georgetown University and a degree in journalism from the University of
- Bill Crouch (Anne Arundel County) is a resident of Anne
Arundel County and the Maryland Director for The Conservation Fund (TCF),
a national 501(c)(3) non profit land trust. Working in partnership with
private and governmental organizations, TCF has protected over 145,000
acres in the State of Maryland and over 6,500,000 acres nationwide. Bill
completed his undergraduate work at James Madison University, and
studied law at the University of Baltimore where he earned a Juris
Doctorate. Bill is a member of the Maryland State Bar. His appreciation
of the outdoors stems from his summers working on his grandparents
cattle farm in Hillsboro, Texas; hiking on the Appalachian Trail; and
hunting on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
- Charlotte D. Hawes (Kent County) is retired from
college teaching and non-profit management. Formerly she was Executive
Director of Community Mediation Upper Shore Inc., Chestertown, Maryland.
She has served as the Director of Global Studies and Visiting Lecturer,
University of Pittsburgh Semester at Sea Program, Fall 1999 and Spring
2004. She formerly served on the Board and as Past Treasurer of the
Maryland Environmental Trust. She is Vice President of the Eastern Shore
Land Conservancy and has put two family farms into conservation
- Nancy Isaacson lived on two historic farms while growing up in New Hampshire. She spent much of her time outdoors teaching skiing and riding. She explored rural New Hampshire with her father on horseback and horseshoes, gaining an appreciation of the state’s beautiful natural landscape. Nancy has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, and did graduate work at Harvard and at the University of Maryland. Nancy’s family relocated to Maryland in 1969 so that her husband a landscape architect could continue his career with the Federal Highway Administration. An unexpected twenty years in real estate provided an extensive knowledge of the landscape in Frederick County. Nancy has also been very vocal as a taxpayer on land use issues. The Frederick County Planning Department did not inform the Isaacsons of MET when they were looking for a conservation program for their farm. Wayne Six, a business friend and knowledgeable appraiser, told Nancy about MET and they placed their farm under an easement about five years ago. The Isaacson’s have a summer cottage in New Hampshire where Nancy has served as a director of the Blaisdell Lake Protective Association, monitoring water quality. She feels that MET’s program is largely unknown in her part of Maryland, so she has volunteered to be a representative in Western Frederick County.
- Toby Lloyd (Montgomery County) is the President of Turnrow, LLC, a multi disciplinary agricultural consulting company focusing on conservation, communications and real estate. Prior to founding Turnrow, Toby worked for The United States Department of Agriculture for thirteen years. At the USDA, he held various positions at the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in their National Office for the Conservation and Environmental Programs Division. Toby later served as the Chief of Farm Programs for FSA in Maryland, overseeing the delivery of the Agency’s Farm Bill Programs as well as working on Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts. In addition to his extensive policy experience, Toby has worked for various farming operations ranging in size from 60 acre hay farms to 5,000 acre grain operations. Toby enjoys spending time on his family’s farm in Pennsylvania and lives with his wife Lisa in Bethesda Maryland.
- King Burnett
- Ajax Eastman
- Ellen Kelly
- John C. Murphy
- Henry A. Virts
Elizabeth Buxton, Director
Liz joined MET as the Director in 2008. She brings to MET more than 20 years of experience working for non-profit conservation organizations and government agencies protecting and managing historic, cultural, scenic and natural resources. MET's half-century leadership in protecting Maryland's scenic landscapes will successfully continue with Mrs. Buxton at the organization's helm, said Governor Martin O'Malley upon her appointment. Liz previously worked as Development and Communications Director for Preservation Maryland and also served as Executive Director of Scenic Maryland. Liz is a graduate of the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She lives in Baltimore County with her husband and two children.
Office Manager - Shilpa Shah
Shilpa serves as MET's fiscal officer and is responsible for financial and budget duties. Shilpa lives in Ellicott City with her her husband and son. Shilpa is a soccer mom and loves to travel with her family.
Easement Planner Regions
Megan Benjamin, Western and Central Region Planner
(Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Carroll, Baltimore, and Harford Counties)
John Turgeon, Southern Region Planner
(Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery, Calvert, Charles, Prince George's, and St. Mary's Counties)
Ann Gutierrez Carlson, Eastern Region Planner
(Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester, Queen Anne’s, Kent, and Cecil Counties)
Megan Benjamin, Western & Central Region Planner
Megan processes new conservation easements in the Central & Western Regions. Megan has a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies from St. Mary's College of Maryland and an M.A in Geography and Environmental Planning from Towson University. She has worked with a number of environmental non-profits in program coordination and administration. Megan worked part time with MET in 2005-06 as the Volunteer Coordinator and helped to revive the volunteer monitoring program. In December 2007, Megan rejoined the MET staff a Conservation Easement Planner. As a native of Garrett County and current resident of Baltimore County, she couldn’t be more pleased to serve the western & central regions. Megan lives in Baltimore County with her husband and two lively dogs.
Ann Gutierrez Carlson, Eastern Region Planner
Ann processes new conservation easements in the Eastern Region. Ann holds a M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A. in Geography from the George Washington University. Before coming to MET she worked for both pubic and private conservation organizations. Ann also has several years experience as a teacher and naturalist. Ann lives in Annapolis with her husband and enjoys being outdoors.
Jon Chapman, Monitoring and Stewardship Program Manager
Jon manages the Monitoring and Stewardship Program. Contact Jon with questions about rights and restrictions in existing conservation easements, exercising reserved rights, and potential easement violations. Jon received his BA from Cornell University in Natural Resources Policy and his MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Forest Ecology. He formerly worked at the Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory, and in the State Forest Conservation Program of the Maryland Department of Natural Resource. Jon is an avid kayaker and lives with his family in Annapolis.
Joan R. Lally, Stewardship Program-Quality Control
Joan works in the Stewardship Program. Contact Joan with questions about existing MET Conservation Easements. Joan received her BS in Zoology from the University of Maryland-College Park and her JD from the University of Baltimore, School of Law. She worked at the Department of Environmental Health for the State of Maryland in Prince George's County prior to beginning work at Maryland Department of Natural Resources. While at DNR, Joan worked in property management, handling easements, rights-of-way and other real property issues for DNR owned properties. She also worked with the Rural Legacy Program before joining the Stewardship Program at MET. Joan resides with her family in Prince George's County.
John Turgeon, Conservation Easement Program Manager
John Turgeon has joined MET as the new Conservation Easement Program Manager. John replaces John Hutson who retired in March after serving 30 years with the State, 24 years of them with MET.
John Turgeon brings close to fifteen years of land conservation work experience in both the non-profit and local government sectors. He comes to us from the Willistown Conservation Trust, a non-profit land trust near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he worked for ten years first as Associate Director and then Director of Land Protection. John successfully led the Willistown Conservation Trust through the land trust accreditation renewal process.
From 2000 to 2004, John worked for Montgomery County, MD, where he served as senior planner for the County’s “Legacy Open Space” initiative to protect its critical natural and cultural open space resources. In previous positions as a planner for the cities of Gaithersburg and Frederick, Maryland he worked primarily on urban forest conservation planning. John holds a B.A. degree in Geography from the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and a Master of Regional Planning degree from the State University of New York at Albany. He now resides in Annapolis and is looking forward to spending time kayaking on the Chesapeake Bay.
Michelle Funches, Conservation Easement Steward
Michelle Funches joined MET in November 2013 as a Conservation Easement Steward. She assists the Stewardship Program staff and local land trusts with monitoring easements properties. Michelle received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from University of Maryland in 2005. She holds two Master’s Degrees in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She is a lifelong resident of Maryland and resides in Prince George’s County.
Jamie Salabogi, Volunteer Coordinator
Jamie coordinates MET’s Volunteer Program and provides training and support to over 30 volunteers who monitor MET easement properties. Jamie received her dual Master’s degrees in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University and has spent time volunteering with the U.S. Peace Corps in Malawi and the Fiji Islands. She enjoys swimming, hiking, and salsa dancing. Jamie is from Dallas and now lives in Annapolis with her husband.
Contact Jamie if you are interested in volunteering for MET.
Michelle Grafton, Land Trust Assistance Coordinator
Michelle coordinates the Land Trust Assistance Program. As part of her job, she provides technical support to over 40 local and regional land trusts in Maryland and plans the annual statewide land conservation conference and quarterly roundtable meetings for the land trust community. Michelle joined the staff in May 2009 and previously served as Easement Steward and Volunteer Coordinator. During the three and half years as Volunteer Coordinator, she expanded the volunteer program to include over 30 trained volunteers who help with monitoring easement properties. Michelle received her B.S. from the University of Maryland, College Park in Environmental Science and Policy and enjoys being outdoors.
Wendy Stringfellow, Communications and Development Coordinator
Wendy Stringfellow joined the MET staff in September 2012 as a consultant. She is responsible for coordinating special events and assists with various special projects. In addition, Wendy assists the development committee with fundraising and outreach. Wendy lives in Baltimore County with her family and enjoys traveling.
Carol Holland, Bookkeeper
Before moving to Maryland, Carol Holland was the business manager of an architecture firm in North Carolina. She was the business manager of Preservation Maryland for two years. She lives in Lutherville.
Board of Trustees Meetings
- December 1, 2014
December meeting to be held from 5-8 at Smithsonian Education Research Center (SERC), 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 20137.
These meetings are scheduled the first Monday of each month with the exception of September to avoid a conflict with the Labor Day holiday. The Board does not meet in January, July and August.