Staff/Board

Fred Tutman, Riverkeeper & CEO

Fred was born and raised along the Patuxent River as were seven generations of his ancestors before him. As the Patuxent Riverkeeper, an organization he founded in 2004, Fred  is a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. He is among the longest serving Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African-American Waterkeeper in the nation. He lives on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to founding Patuxent Riverkeeper in 2004, Fred operated a business that provided professional media and mass communication services internationally, including a long stint working with and advising traditional healers in West Africa and coverage of the Falkands conflict in Argentina on assignment by the BBC. Fred also worked as a volunteer activist on the Patuxent for over 20 years until the momentum of the volunteer environmental work overcame his media career and the challenge of Riverkeeping beckoned. Fred is a recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for his work on behalf of environmental causes and issues in Maryland. He also serves on a variety of Boards, Task Forces and Commissions related to the work of protecting the Patuxent and the natural environment. Among them, Fred serves on the Board of the Environmental Integrity Project, as a Governor appointed Commissioner on the State’s Patuxent River Commission and on the Board of Waterkeeper Alliance, the international group that licenses Waterkeepers. After a late life sojourn into law school, Fred is now an adjunct instructor at historic St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he teaches an upper level course in Environmental Law and Policy. He is an avid kayaker, backpacker and adventurer. In his spare time he does trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail, explores the Patuxent River by kayak, blacksmiths, writes and works on his farm.

Sonia Keiner, Communications/Events

Sonia Keiner is a Prince George’s County, MD-based activist and photographer. Her work in both university and non-profit settings has afforded her a unique perspective on how to educate, train and organize around food justice, environmental justice and leadership development issues. In 2006 she earned a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Maryland, College Park and has extensive development, communications and non-profit administration experience.  Sonia has served as Executive Director of The Orchard School & Community Center in Alstead, New Hampshire (a nature & farm-based school) and directed the efforts of a Community Center in a working class neighborhood outside of Washington D.C., bringing much-needed resources through fundraising and partnership cultivation.  Sonia is also the recipient of a number of local, state, national and federal grants for her social justice and community-based public art projects.  Her photography has been exhibited locally and her series of farmer portraits are part of the permanent collection at BusBoys and Poets Restaurant in Hyattsville, MD. She has facilitated many community photography courses, helping students create powerful images to tell their story. She lives on an historic farm in Upper Marlboro where she spends as much time possible growing and sharing food and herbs, cooking, organizing and creating. She grew up on the Patuxent River in Howard County, MD.  Sonia’s CV.

Bob Kaper, Director of Development

Bob Kaper is a longtime St. Mary’s county resident who lives on the shores of the Patuxent River. He’s spent most of his career in media and public affairs, working as a print journalist, TV/video producer and communications director, with a frequent focus on energy and environmental issues. An avid catamaran sailor and power-boater, he’s also served as marketing/communications manager for a marine hybrid-electric propulsion firm. 

PATUXENT RIVERKEEPER, BOARD OF ADVISORS

Clyde Bernard Fowler is a former Maryland State Senator (1983–1994) and County Commissioner (1970–1982) from Calvert County, Maryland. Prior to being elected to public office, Fowler was an avid fisherman who would wade into the Patuxent River and make note of the clarity of the water. After noticing the clarity of the water slowly diminishing, Fowler chose to run for Calvert County Commissioner in 1970 and make the health of the Patuxent River a key issue. As an early-1970s Calvert County Commissioner, he led the way in a lawsuit filed by downriver Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties against upriver counties. The lawsuit forced the state, the upriver counties, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact pollution control measures. After serving over a decade as county commissioner, Fowler was elected to the Maryland Senate, where he remained in until his retirement from public office in the mid 1990s.

David C. Harrington is a former member of the Maryland State Senate. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University, and a M.A. from Miami University where he served as: Senior fellow and faculty member, James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland. Board of Directors, Maryland Association of Counties. Eastern Regional Representative, National Association of Black County Officials. Former director of education, Close Up Foundation. Former president, Maryland Municipal League; Port Towns Community Development Corporation.

Tom Horton covered Chesapeake Bay for the Baltimore Sun for more than 30 years, and wrote environmental stories for numerous magazines, including the New York Times, Rolling Stone, National Geographic and Audubon. He is author of eight books on the Chesapeake. His book, Bay Country, won the John Burroughs Award, given annually for the best book of nature writing in the U.S. Currently he lives in Salisbury Maryland where he teaches at Salisbury University, and works on books and magazine stories.

Joseph D. Tydings is a former member of the United States Senate, representing the state of Maryland from 1965 to 1971. He served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1955 to 1961, and as United States Attorney from 1961 until his resignation in 1963 to run for Senate. He won election to the Senate in 1964 until 1970. He later served as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Maryland, College Park and the University System of Maryland, and continues to practice law.

2016

PATUXENT RIVERKEEPER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Henry S. Cole, PhD of Upper Marlboro, MD is the founder of Henry S. Cole & Associates, Incorporated, an environmental consulting firm that provides scientific support, communications and advocacy for corporate, non-profit and community organizations. Prior to founding the firm in 1993, Dr. Cole served as science director for national environmental organizations, Clean Water Action and the National Campaign against Toxic Hazards. Cole’s reports on the Superfund Program and on mercury contamination received wide spread media coverage and spurred action to curb emissions and use of this toxic chemical. During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Dr. Cole served as a senior scientist with U.S. EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards where he managed several programs involving stationary source, urban-scale and regional air quality simulation models.  He served as Associate Professor of Environmental Earth Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and a Professor of Environmental Studies at Howard University. Dr. Cole received his Ph.D. in Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin in 1969.

Richard Dolesh has worked with parks, resource conservation and natural resources for nearly all of his professional life. Most of his experience in these areas has been on the Patuxent River. He is currently a Senior Policy Associate with the National Recreation and Park Association, previously was Director of Forest, Wildlife, and Heritage Service for Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and before that, was Chief of Natural and Historical Resources for Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). He is the author of a number of articles in the Parks and Recreation Magazine and other publications relating to parks and conservation.

Will Biddle is a retired educator and civic activist and avid outdoorsman living in the Davidsonville Area.

Vernice Miller-Travis is an Urban Planner and a graduate of Columbia University in the City of New York. She is also a published author of numerous articles and book chapters on race and land-use, environmental justice, Brownfields redevelopment and hazardous waste policy, sustainable community development, historic preservation, and neighborhood revitalization. She is the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s Section on the Environment Damu Smith Health Achievement Award in 2009, and also a Charles H. Revson graduate fellowship from Columbia University (1992), and a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship (1997).Currently, she is also the principal of an environmental consulting group called Miller-Travis & Associates, and a Senior Associate at Skeo Solutions.

Tracy Lloyd McCurty is a public interest attorney who serves communities and works to alleviate disparities. She is presently employed as Policy Advisor, at the Rural Coalition where she devises advocacy strategies in collaboration with community-based farm organizations to promote the equitable inclusion of historically underserved and limited resource farmers and farmworkers in federal agriculture programs. Ms. McCurty’s diverse work includes monitioring and analyzing legal developments regarding equity in federal agriculture programs including government agency regulations, court decisions and legislative actions as well as providing legal and technical assistance to community based organizations including nonprofit, program development and grant writing; assisted farm cooperatives with identifying farm-to school markets for their produce in the DC metro area.

James Gee is a certified public accountant with over 21 years of experience with such diverse organizations as the Democratic National Committee, various multi-national corporations and numerous nonprofit organizations both large and small. He has considerable experience with fiscal operations, finance and audits. Born and raised in the Chesapeake Bay watershed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, James has a double B.S. in Business Management and Accounting from Bowie State University.

Dr. Barbara Sollner-Webb did her undergraduate work at MIT and went to graduate school for Biology at Stanford. She did her doctoral research on chromatin at the NIH with Gary Felesnfeld, followed by a postdoc with Ron Reeder at the Carnegie Institute in Baltimore. For almost three decades, Sollner-Webb was a member of the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. (She was only the ninth woman to be tenured at Johns Hopkins since its founding over 100 years ago.) Her research first focused upon the mechanism of rRNA gene transcription, then rRNA processing, and she now studies both a form of RNA processing that can change 4 ⁄5 of the codons in mitochondrial mRNAs and a system discovered by her group that provides novel information on how the mammalian cell organizes its DNA in the nucleus. She is an environmental activist and deeply involved in the civic life of her community.  She enjoys riding Icelandic horses. 

Sacoby Wilson, PhD is an assistant professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland-College Park. Dr. Wilson is an environmental health scientist with over ten years of experience working in community-university partnerships on environmental health and justice issues. He has expertise in exposure science and applied environmental health including community-based exposure assessment, environmental justice science, social epidemiology, environmental health disparities, built environment, air pollution monitoring, and community-based participatory research (CBPR). For the past two years, he has been building a program on community engagement, environmental justice, and health (CEEJH) to engage impacted communities, advocacy groups, and policymakers in Maryland and the Washington, DC region on environmental justice issues and environmental health disparities.