Lou Etgen, Executive Director
Before joining the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Lou was the Maryland State Director for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay after serving two stints as Interim Director. During his Alliance tenure, he helped create many of their signatures programs including: Project Clean Stream, the Chesapeake Watershed Forum, DC's RiverSmart Homes, and RiverWise Congregations. Throughout his time with the Alliance, he served as a member of the Management Team, which worked to establish the Alliance as a strong partner with other watershed organizations as well as local, state, and federal governments to advance the collective goal of clean water throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Lou also previously worked in the emergency food arena as the Director of Programs at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC and as the Operations Director of a small non-profit, Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network. Prior to that, he worked in the environmental education community starting with the Echo Hill Outdoor School on the Eastern Shore of MD and afterwards with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Growing up in the tidal creeks of the 1970’s era Chesapeake Bay, he learned to love the outdoors, especially where the land and water met. His formative days were spent fishing, crabbing, swimming, and boating. He has spent his adult life dedicated to restoring the Bay in hopes that future generations can continue to share his childhood experiences. This journey has led him to obtain a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License, meet scores of tremendous people, and afforded him the opportunity to spend time in many of the nooks and crannies of the Bay and its watershed. Lou is a lifelong resident of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and currently resides with his wife, Cindy at the headwaters of Mill Creek in the Severn River watershed. He is a graduate of Anne Arundel Community College and Towson (State) University with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education.
Matthew Bonomo, Project Assistant, Clear Creeks Project
Matthew started his Gunpowder Valley Conservancy career as a volunteer at a tree planting event in fall of 2015. He enjoyed getting outside and experiencing nature so much that he expanded his responsibilities – working as a tree maintenance intern (2015-2016) as well as a tree planting crew chief (2016). In 2017, Matt is the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s new rain barrel and Clear Creeks project assistant. Matt is studying environmental science and horticulture at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) in Essex. Matt is also a very active member in the CCBC’s Environmental Science Club, helping with event set-up, recruitment, and campus garden maintenance.
Patricia Ceglia, Landscape Designer, Clear Creeks Project
Patricia assists homeowners in designing and installing stormwater-absorbing Edible and Native Bayscapes. She is an ecological site planner, architect, educator, and life-long organic gardener, with an architectural degree from Pratt Institute. In recent years, Patricia has transferred her design skills from 30 years of conventional architectural practice to functional landscape design and sustainable building. She designs rain-scapes and residential architecture for private clients and teaches Permaculture Design, an ecological design method, independently.
Darcy Herman, Clear Creeks Project Assistant Manager and Lower Gunpowder Falls Watershed Project Coordinator
After having spent several childhood vacations on the Eastern Shore, Darcy moved to Maryland in 1994 to go to school and expand and indulge her love of the Chesapeake Bay region. Darcy has worked for several federal government contractors as a technical writer, editor, and proposal developer and more recently as a naturalist at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. She serves on the board of the Friends of Jug Bay as a co-chair of their Grants and Fundraising Committee. Among Darcy’s passions are citizen science, entomology, and birding. Darcy earned bachelor's degrees in zoology and English from Michigan State University and a master's in professional writing from Towson University.
Tiiu Mayer, Forest Steward Coordinator
After a career in high tech, Tiiu has gravitated towards all things green. She loves gardening, including removing invasive plants and replacing them with native plants both for the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC) and on her own property. Other interests include dog agility, teaching Chinese at Jacksonville Senior Center, and presenting to garden clubs in her capacity as a UME Master Gardener. Her favorite topics include starting plants by seed and invasive plant education. Her first volunteer experience with GVC was serving as a crew chief for tree plantings. Tiiu now leads hands-on invasive plant removal workshops for GVC, teaching volunteers and the general public about invasive and native plants.
Kim Peabody, Tree Maintenance Coordinator
Kim Peabody recruits, trains and supervises volunteers and an intern to monitor and care for established forests planted by the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy. She also assists with Gunpowder Valley Conservancy Clear Creeks Project Bay Wise and rain garden installations. Kim also works as a park naturalist. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, Recreation and Health from University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Arts in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training.
Peg Perry, Education and Restoration Program Director
With nearly two decades of experience directing environmental education programs for governmental and various educational organizations, Peg joined the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy in 2007 and has used her background in natural history, eco-psychology, and deep ecology to fulfill her life’s work: inspiring people of all ages to reconnect to our natural world as well as to restore, preserve, and protect it. She loves greeting the morning sun, sitting silently in nature, and hiking in the mountains.
Karen Stupski, Grant Writer
Karen is a sustainability educator, grant writer, and communitarian. She currently serves as a faculty member at Goddard College and lives at Heathcote Community, a small eco-village dedicated to sustainable living, where she coordinates the permaculture education program. Karen believes that permaculture design is a valuable tool for creating sustainable systems, which is necessary in order to achieve our goal of protecting and restoring the Gunpowder watershed and the Chesapeake Bay.
Amy Young, Clear Creeks Project Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator
After spending many years traveling across the country as a field ecologist, Amy is happy to call Maryland home. She has worked in a variety of habitats and plant communities: desert, mountain, prairie, wetland, rainforest, coastal dunes, and Fall Line Sandhills. Her projects have been similarly diverse, including monitoring forest regeneration after a wildfire, studying the reproductive biology of an endangered plant, mapping historical changes in a large wetland complex, and collecting native wildflower seeds for use in large-scale restoration projects. Amy earned a B.A. in Biology with an Environmental Studies concentration from Swarthmore College, and a M.S. in Plant Biology from University of Georgia. She serves on the Board of The Natural History Society of Maryland. She loves discovering the natural and cultural features of new places, and hopes to instill a similar curiosity in her two young sons. Amy works with Clear Creek Project participants to help them learn how to clean up local waterways with beautiful (and economical!) solutions like Bay-friendly gardens.