About

A tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Conservation Montgomery is a coalition of civic and environmental organizations, and individual residents, who address Montgomery County’s environmental and quality-of-life challenges. The first of its kind in the county, Conservation Montgomery provides a forum for county residents who want:

  • Effective watershed protection and stormwater management.
  • Tree-lined streets — and a forest canopy providing environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits.
  • Workable solutions to the impacts of climate change.
  • Energy-efficient homes and businesses.
  • Sustainable transportation.
  • Pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhoods.
  • Green public space and lush parks.
  • Responsive governance with land-use decisions based on input from all community stakeholders.

Too often, we fail to see the connections between livable communities and environmental stewardship until it’s too late.

Conservation Montgomery joins forces with community groups to bridge gaps in addressing critical environmental issues. The coalition teaches county residents environmental stewardship, provides a public forum to comprehensively address the county’s environmental issues, and provides elected officials with resources for informed decision-making. We work with individual residents, civic groups, businesses and other nonprofits and associations.

Conservation Montgomery was established by an experienced founding board, over half of whom the County Council named among “40 Environmentalists Who Made a Difference in 40 Years” to mark America’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day. They are joined on the board by leaders of county civic associations and others with expertise in science-based community policy.

Conservation Montgomery is funded by membership dues, donations and grants.

OUR MISSION

To sustain Montgomery County’s quality of life and natural resources for current and future generations through community awareness and sound decision-making.

OUR VISION

To create a strong connection between the health of our natural landscape and our collective quality of life. Conservation Montgomery envisions an environmentally literate citizenry and elected officials who act to protect natural resources in our communities.

MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ginny Barnes, Vice Chair

Ginny Barnes has led grassroots water quality, stormwater management and forest conservation efforts for decades. In addition to serving as vice chair of Conservation Montgomery, Barnes co-chairs the Legacy Open Space Advisory Group, is on the County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee and is president of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association.

In previous roles, Barnes has served:
• On the County Water Quality Advisory Group and the Maryland Water Quality Monitoring Council;
• On Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s C&O Canal Stewardship Task Force;
• On the Forest Conservation Task Force of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission;
• As vice chair of the Sierra Club.
She also (via a grant from the county) created a popular video called Living Waters and helped launch the Audubon Naturalist Society’s citizen water-quality monitoring program.

Known for eloquently spearheading efforts resulting in strong environmental policies, Barnes received the Star Cup Award from Montgomery County Civic Federation, and, in 2010, was named one of the “40 Environmentalists who made a difference in 40 Years” by the Montgomery County Council.

Barnes is also an artist. She curates an alternative art gallery space in Georgetown and has taught textile arts via Maryland’s State Arts Council “Arts in Education” program.

Alan S. Bowser, Secretary

Alan-Bowser

Board Secretary Alan Bowser, a graduate of Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the Georgetown University Law Center, is an experienced attorney, economist and senior executive in the public and private sectors. He specializes in transportation, manufacturing, energy and environmental issues.

He is a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce, was a senior staff member of the World Bank Group and a director of the Petroleum Finance Company. He also served as chief of staff to Montgomery County Council member-at-Large Duchy Trachtenberg.

An attorney in private practice, Bowser is president of the Silver Spring Town Center. He also serves on the boards of Safe Silver Spring, the Sligo Creek Golf Association, Building Bridges America and the Park Hills Civic Association

Lauren Brown

Board member Lauren Brown has lived in Montgomery County most of her life and is excited to do environmental work at the local level. A recent graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, Brown holds degree in environmental politics and policy and psychology. As a leader in college environmental clubs, she ran successful campaigns for divestment and sustainable practices and policies.

Brown has worked at Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Fountain Rock Nature Center, and most recently, the Audubon Naturalist Society. She has volunteered at various environmental organizations in Montgomery County, including 350MoCo, Sierra Club, and Sunrise Youth Movement.

Brown also serves on Conservation Montgomery’s Advocacy Committee.

Helen Burns

Conservation Montgomery board member Helen Burns, a Takoma Park resident, is passionate about improving local water quality, as well as mitigating the effects of climate change nationally. As a volunteer with youth advocacy groups, she helps the County Executive develop affordable housing strategies that minimize environmental impact and maintain green space.

A graduate of Georgetown University (‘15) and of Oberlin College (‘11), Burns is a cyber security analyst for a private contractor. Fluent in Spanish and Russian, she spent three years living in Eastern Europe teaching English while independently researching environmentally sustainable economic development.

Burns, who also chairs our Communications Committee, enjoys long distance running and biking on the Sligo Creek trail.

Beth Daly

Beth Daly works in the political advertising field and has held leadership positions with Sugarloaf Citizens Association, Sugarloaf Riding Club and is EPIC’s Treasurer.

She prefers to spend time out in the open — whether on Sugarloaf Mountain, on competitive equine trail rides or landscape painting in Montgomery County’s Ag Reserve.

Amanda Farber

Bethesda resident Amanda Farber became an activist after documenting the decline of tree canopy in her neighborhood and the down county area. Her concern prompted her to band with neighbors to oppose the area’s “canyonization” — the effect of being hemmed in by sun-blocking high-rises.

In Farber’s first official action, she addressed Montgomery County Planning Board’s 2016 meeting to discuss the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan to determine Bethesda’s development scope, where the tallest buildings should be located, and how to create more parks and affordable housing. Farber — a master’s-educated occupational therapist with a mania for record-keeping — then dove deep into the debate over how to write the sector plan. She and neighbors formed the East Bethesda Citizens Association, and spent the next year in community meetings, strategy sessions, and conversations with decision-makers. “Communities Not Canyons!” signs popped up in yards all over East Bethesda.

When the plan was adopted, the coalition experienced victories and losses. For example, caps for building heights were scaled back — a win — but the plan didn’t include development staging, a way to pace growth so it doesn’t overburden the infrastructure — a loss.

As a result of her involvement, the planning board invited Farber to join its advisory committee, tasking her with tracking progress. After county officials told her that it would be too costly and time-consuming to produce scale models of potential development in Bethesda, she built her own out of Legos. She also posts photos of the finished models on Facebook to illustrate how development could change the landscape.

(This biography is drawn from Betheda Magazine’s 2018 profile on Farber.)

Caren Madsen, Chair

Caren Madsen, volunteer chair of the Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors, is an environmentalist and a realist. The Silver Spring resident is interested in strategies that will protect the environment, consider impacts to human health and help sustain the local economy. She has served two terms on the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee as a founding committee member, and on the Forest Conservation Task Force convened by the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.

A former journalist, she is an advocate of preserving trees in the county and developing solutions to preserving tree canopy and protecting local watersheds. Over the years, Caren has served on other boards and volunteer positions with Friends of Sligo Creek and the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

John Parrish

Environmental activist John Parrish is well-known in the local natural resource community. A botanist who was formerly with the National Park Service Center for Urban Ecology, John is past vice president of the Maryland Native Plant Society and is a longtime member of the Montgomery County Legacy Open Space Master Plan Advisory Group.

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, he currently works to protect the Ten Mile Creek watershed from over-development. Parrish is a naturalist with extensive knowledge of local geology, soils, and fauna, and is an expert in rare plants and rare plant communities of the Mid-Atlantic region

Helen Wood, Treasurer

Conservation Montgomery Treasurer Helen Wood has had a distinguished 24-year career at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She was a senior advisor for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) program involving 20+ U.S. federal agencies and 100 countries that monitor the Earth to advance our understanding of climate change, weather forecasting and energy and water resource management.

Wood also:
• Chaired the President’s National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction and served on the steering committee of the National Research Council Disasters Roundtable;
• Served as deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation’s World Conference on Disaster Reduction (Kobe, Japan, 2005).
• Was a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, designed to ensure that U.S. government executives are responsive to the needs, policies and goals of the nation.
• Has earned the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award as well as two U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medals, and a Silver and Bronze medal.

Finally, Wood is board president of the Maplewood Park Homeowners Association (Bethesda) and is a pastel artist active in several regional art associations.

EX OFFICIO BOARD MEMBER MIKE RUBIN

rubinhorse

Working with public and private land-preservation programs, Mike Rubin has played a key role in preserving over 4,000 acres in Montgomery County. His leadership in creating the 800-acre Hoyles Mill Conservation Park — the county’s largest single land preservation acquisition — involved orchestrating the efforts of the State of Maryland, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Trust for Public Land, and Montgomery County. Mike also works with historic preservation boards to maintain historic structures locally, as well as in Aiken, S.C., where he was awarded for an equestrian/preservation project. He is founding chairman of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, focused on sound economic, land-use and transportation policies and programs that preserve the natural environment, open spaces and rural lands in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. Mike is also president of Equestrian Partners in Conservation.

Executive Committee

Caren Madsen, Chair

Caren Madsen, volunteer chair of the Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors, is an environmentalist and a realist. The Silver Spring resident is interested in strategies that will protect the environment, consider impacts to human health and help sustain the local economy. She has served two terms on the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee as a founding committee member, and on the Forest Conservation Task Force convened by the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.

A former journalist, she is an advocate of preserving trees in the County and developing solutions to preserving tree canopy and protecting local watersheds. Over the years, Caren has served on other boards and volunteer positions with Friends of Sligo Creek and the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

Ginny Barnes, Vice Chair

Ginny Barnes has led grassroots water quality, stormwater management and forest conservation efforts for decades. In addition to serving as vice chair of Conservation Montgomery, Barnes co-chairs the Legacy Open Space Advisory Group, is on the County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee and is president of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association.

In previous roles, Barnes has served:
• On the County Water Quality Advisory Group and the Maryland Water Quality Monitoring Council;
• On Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s C&O Canal Stewardship Task Force;
• On the Forest Conservation Task Force of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission;
• As vice chair of the Sierra Club.
She also (via a grant from the county) created a popular video called Living Waters and helped launch the Audubon Naturalist Society’s citizen water-quality monitoring program.

Known for eloquently spearheading efforts resulting in strong environmental policies, Barnes received the Star Cup Award from Montgomery County Civic Federation, and, in 2010, was named one of the “40 Environmentalists who made a difference in 40 Years” by the Montgomery County Council.

Barnes is also an artist. She curates an alternative art gallery space in Georgetown and has taught textile arts via Maryland’s State Arts Council “Arts in Education” program.

Alan Bowser, Secretary

Alan-Bowser

Board Secretary Alan Bowser, a graduate of Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the Georgetown University Law Center, is an experienced attorney, economist and senior executive in the public and private sectors. He specializes in transportation, manufacturing, energy and environmental issues.

He is a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Department of Commerce, was a senior staff member of the World Bank Group and a director of the Petroleum Finance Company. He also served as chief of staff to Montgomery County Council member-at-Large Duchy Trachtenberg.

An attorney in private practice, Bowser is president of the Silver Spring Town Center. He also serves on the boards of Safe Silver Spring, the Sligo Creek Golf Association, Building Bridges America and the Park Hills Civic Association

Helen Wood, Treasurer

Conservation Montgomery Treasurer Helen Wood has had a distinguished 24-year career at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She was a senior advisor for the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) program involving 20+ U.S. federal agencies and 100 countries that monitor the Earth to advance our understanding of climate change, weather forecasting and energy and water resource management.

Wood also:
• Chaired the President’s National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction and served on the steering committee of the National Research Council Disasters Roundtable;
• Served as deputy head of the U.S. delegation to the United Nation’s World Conference on Disaster Reduction (Kobe, Japan, 2005).
• Was a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service, designed to ensure that U.S. government executives are responsive to the needs, policies and goals of the nation.
• Has earned the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award as well as two U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medals, and a Silver and Bronze medal.

Finally, Wood is board president of the Maplewood Park Homeowners Association (Bethesda) and is a pastel artist active in several regional art associations.

Advocacy Committee

Ginny Barnes, Chair

barnes

Ginny Barnes has led grassroots water quality, stormwater management and forest conservation efforts for decades. In addition to serving as vice chair of Conservation Montgomery, Barnes co-chairs the Legacy Open Space Advisory Group, is on the County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee and is president of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association.

In previous roles, Barnes has served:
• On the County Water Quality Advisory Group and the Maryland Water Quality Monitoring Council;
• On Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s C&O Canal Stewardship Task Force;
• On the Forest Conservation Task Force of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission;
• As vice chair of the Sierra Club.
She also (via a grant from the county) created a popular video called Living Waters and helped launch the Audubon Naturalist Society’s citizen water-quality monitoring program.

Known for eloquently spearheading efforts resulting in strong environmental policies, Barnes received the Star Cup Award from Montgomery County Civic Federation, and, in 2010, was named one of the “40 Environmentalists who made a difference in 40 Years” by the Montgomery County Council.

Barnes is also an artist. She curates an alternative art gallery space in Georgetown and has taught textile arts via Maryland’s State Arts Council “Arts in Education” program.

Diane Cameron

Diane Cameron was conservation program director of Audubon Naturalist Society from 2008 to 2016. A watershed protection advocate, she led the 2013-2014 campaign to Save Ten Mile Creek. Cameron serves on the boards of Conservation Montgomery; Friends of Ten Mile Creek; and Little Seneca Reservoir.

With degrees in geology and environmental engineering, Cameron was a senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council Water Program from 1989 to 1998. She co-founded the Stormwater Partners Network in 2005, and chaired it from 2005 to 2016; it now comprises 36 organizations supporting clean water in Montgomery County.

Cameron’s hobbies are native tree propagation; hiking; singing; cooking; and quilting.

Amanda Farber

Bethesda resident Amanda Farber became an activist after documenting the decline of tree canopy in her neighborhood and the down county area. Her concern prompted her to band with neighbors to oppose the area’s “canyonization” — the effect of being hemmed in by sun-blocking high-rises.

In Farber’s first official action, she addressed Montgomery County Planning Board’s 2016 meeting to discuss the Bethesda Downtown Sector Plan to determine Bethesda’s development scope, where the tallest buildings should be located, and how to create more parks and affordable housing. Farber — a master’s-educated occupational therapist with a mania for record-keeping — then dove deep into the debate over how to write the sector plan. She and neighbors formed the East Bethesda Citizens Association, and spent the next year in community meetings, strategy sessions, and conversations with decision-makers. “Communities Not Canyons!” signs popped up in yards all over East Bethesda.

When the plan was adopted, the coalition experienced victories and losses. For example, caps for building heights were scaled back — a win — but the plan didn’t include development staging, a way to pace growth so it doesn’t overburden the infrastructure — a loss.

As a result of her involvement, the planning board invited Farber to join its advisory committee, tasking her with tracking progress. After county officials told her that it would be too costly and time-consuming to produce scale models of potential development in Bethesda, she built her own out of Legos. She also posts photos of the finished models on Facebook to illustrate how development could change the landscape.

(This biography is drawn from Betheda Magazine’s 2018 profile on Farber.)

Lauren Brown

Board member Lauren Brown has lived in Montgomery County most of her life and is excited to do environmental work at the local level. A recent graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, Brown holds degree in environmental politics and policy and psychology. As a leader in college environmental clubs, she ran successful campaigns for divestment and sustainable practices and policies.

Brown has worked at Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Fountain Rock Nature Center, and most recently, the Audubon Naturalist Society. She has volunteered at various environmental organizations in Montgomery County, including 350MoCo, Sierra Club, and Sunrise Youth Movement.

John Parrish

Environmental activist John Parrish is well-known in the local natural resource community. A botanist who was formerly with the National Park Service Center for Urban Ecology, John is past vice president of the Maryland Native Plant Society and is a longtime member of the Montgomery County Legacy Open Space Master Plan Advisory Group.

A lifelong resident of Montgomery County, he currently works to protect the Ten Mile Creek watershed from over-development. Parrish is a naturalist with extensive knowledge of local geology, soils, and fauna, and is an expert in rare plants and rare plant communities of the Mid-Atlantic region

Communications Committee

Helen Burns, Chair

Conservation Montgomery board member Helen Burns, a Takoma Park resident, is passionate about improving local water quality, as well as mitigating the effects of climate change nationally. As a volunteer with youth advocacy groups, she helps the County Executive develop affordable housing strategies that minimize environmental impact and maintain green space.

A graduate of Georgetown University (‘15) and of Oberlin College (‘11), Burns is a cyber security analyst for a private contractor. Fluent in Spanish and Russian, she spent three years living in Eastern Europe teaching English while independently researching environmentally sustainable economic development.

Burns enjoys long distance running and biking on the Sligo Creek trail.

Caren Madsen

Caren Madsen, volunteer chair of the Conservation Montgomery Board of Directors, is an environmentalist and a realist. The Silver Spring resident is interested in strategies that will protect the environment, consider impacts to human health and help sustain the local economy. She has served two terms on the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee as a founding committee member, and on the Forest Conservation Task Force convened by the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.

A former journalist, she is an advocate of preserving trees in the county and developing solutions to preserving tree canopy and protecting local watersheds. Over the years, Caren has served on other boards and volunteer positions with Friends of Sligo Creek and the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

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