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Board of Trustees


Our Executive Committee: James W. Constable, Doris Blazek-White, Honorable S. Jay Plager, Mary Burke, and William Leahy (Executive Director).


The Maryland Environmental Trust is governed by a 19-member Board of Trustees with 15 trustees as 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. Click here for the Board of Trustees Meeting Schedule. Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act the Board of Trustees has made the minutes of each meeting available. Click here to view meeting minutes.




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.


Mary Burke (SECRETARY) 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 Texas.


Major Gary S. Burnett has 29 years of experience with the Maryland State Park Service holding positions at various operational levels ranging from park ranger major to ranger trustee. Major Burnett has recently accepted a position as the North Region Operations Manager for the Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks. Previously, Major Burnett held positions as chief of mission support and sustainability as well as director of support services for the Maryland State Park Service. Major Burnett began his career as a park ranger at Gunpowder Falls State Park in Harford County. He serves on the boards of the Snow Hill Chamber of Commerce, DNR Black Officers Association, North East Chamber of Commerce, Cecil County Tourism Board, Howard County Environmental Alliance, and is the founder and president of the Friends of Carrie Murray Nature Center. Major Burnett holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Development from the University of 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.


Richard D’Amato has extensive experience in the military, government and private sectors. Mr. D’Amato began his career serving five years active duty in the U.S. Navy, which included a three year stint at the U.S. Naval Academy teaching courses in U.S. Government and Economics. Mr. D’Amato remained in the Navy Reserve for 25 years, retiring as captain. He transitioned to appointed roles in the U.S. Senate where he held numerous high level positions including counsel to Senate Appropriations Committee under Sen. Robert Byrd, staff director and counsel to majority leader for trade and national security policies and chief of staff for Sen. Abraham Ribicoff. Mr. D’Amato was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1998 before holding a position as vice president for Synergics Energy, LLC. He has served twice as the commissioner and chairman for the U.S. and China Economic and Security Review Commission. He holds a B.A. with honors from Cornell University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School. Mr. D’Amato is a member of the Bars of Maryland, the District of Columbia and Colorado.


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.


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.


Royden Powell, III has served the public for 25 years in state, local and municipal governments, in addition to over 20 years of agricultural experience as a grain farmer in Queen Anne’s County. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Mr. Powell served as a supervisor for the Queen Anne’s Soil Conservation District for 11 years before beginning his tour of duty with the Maryland Department of Agriculture as the chief of resource conservation and assistant secretary of the office of resource conservation. Mr. Powell has coordinated environmental policy with state and federal agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Farm Services Agency. He entered municipal government in 2004, becoming town manager for Centreville where he broadened his experience to include growth planning and municipal operations. In 2006, Mr. Powell returned to the Maryland Department of Agriculture as assistant secretary for the office of resource conservation until his retirement in 2007. He resides on the family farm near Centreville with his wife JoAnn.


Michael A. Pretl is retired following 45 years of law practice in Maryland. He now resides on the Lower Eastern Shore, where he remains active in a leadership role and provides pro bono legal assistance to a number of environmental organizations and many other nonprofits. A Baltimore native and 1969 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Mike was a partner at Smith, Somerville & Case, created the firm of Pretl & Erwin P.A., and served for 16 years as the first general counsel for the American Urological Association at its headquarters in Linthicum. He served for six years on the governing board of the Lower Shore Land Trust, two terms as president of the Wicomico Environmental Trust, and currently chairs the board of the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance. He has also taught environmental law to undergraduates at Salisbury University, as well as a number of related courses to retired professionals for the Association for Lifelong Learning. Mike’s wife, Michele Hughes, is a nonprofit executive, and they reside in a restored 130-year-old house in Riverton, on the Nanticoke River.


Sarah J. Taylor-Rogers, PhD has extensive experience in natural resources management and the public administration sectors. She began her post academic career as a project manager and community planner for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and eventually became the director for the Maryland coastal zone management program for the Department of Natural Resources. In 1983, Taylor-Rogers helped create and administer Maryland’s first land use and growth management program to protect the Chesapeake Bay as executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. And in 1999 she became the first woman to be named Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources. Since 2005, Dr. Taylor-Rogers has worked as assistant director for the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc. where she completed two reports on conservation easements and the use of Downzoning to preserve working lands in Maryland. Dr. Taylor-Rogers received the United States National Environmental Program’s top 500 Environmental Achievers award in 1991 and in 2004 she received the Frances H. Flanigan Award for Leadership from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. She holds a B.A. from Thiel College, a MPA and PhD from Syracuse University’s Maxwell Graduate School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.



Ex-Officio Members


Senator Addie C. Eckardt serves as the representative of the president of the Maryland Senate.


Tom McCarthy, Land Acquisition and Planning, Maryland Department of Natural Resources serves as the Governor’s Representative.


Delegate Dana Stein serves as the representative of the Speaker of the House of Delegates.



Area Represenatives


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.


Trustees Emeritus

  • King Burnett
  • Ajax Eastman
  • Ellen Kelly
  • John C. Murphy
  • Henry A. Virts

List of Committees and Members