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...



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 brings over 10 years of various non-profit experience with her to the Chesapeake Conservancy. Her duties include overall management of the  office, human resources, and financial support. Colleen holds a B.A. in History from Washington College as well as an M.A.T. in Elementary Education from East Tennessee State University.  She lives by the Bay in Shady Side, MD with her husband and young daughter.

Learn more about the administration team here.



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.

Learn more about the 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.

Learn more about the conservation technology team here.



Sarah ElderEvelina Erickson, Director of Development

Born in Annapolis and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Evelina oversees development and fundraising efforts to support the Chesapeake Conservancy. She previously served as the executive director of Prevention Connections. Her environmental nonprofit experience includes positions with the American Farmland Trust, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, and the Chester River Association, and she served as assistant to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and former Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening.  She has raised several millions to support conservation efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and across the country.  She is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is dedicated to upholding the highest ethical standards of the profession.  In her free time, Evelina can be found enjoying the great outdoors, taking a swing across the ballroom, or spending leisure time with her family and friends.

Learn more about the development team here.



Emily MyronEmily Myron, Acting Director of Programs 

Emily manages landscape-scale river corridor conservation projects and collaborative partnerships with federal, state and non-profit partners across the watershed. She has a strong background in conservation, community-based environmental management, and geospatial analysis. She has a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from St. Mary's College of Maryland. 


Learn more about the programs team here.


Advisory Staff