Last month, our Board elected seven new board members to help guide the future of Gunpowder Valley Conservancy. In the spirit of looking ahead, GVC President Cyrus Green shared his thoughts on the critical role that environmental nonprofits play in the larger sense of community:
Join us in welcoming our newest Board Members, who are featured below with brief biographical sketches.
- Brittany Aniszkiewicz is passionate about improving nonprofit organizations’ capacity and outcomes. She has led community change and child welfare reform initiatives at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Master’s in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. She is on the Board of the Oregon Ridge Nature Center Council and volunteers with MD Nonprofits and Baltimore Community Mediation. She has a strong interest in philanthropy and the environmental sector and enjoys working with communities for climate change innovations and solutions. She volunteered to restore a farm in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and traveled to Costa Rica with urban youth to sustainably rebuild a playground to prevent flooding. Brittany enjoys hiking and writing poetry.
- Sarah Bunk (Secretary) is a water/wastewater project manager at Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT). She holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University and an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sarah has volunteered with GVC as a reforestation crew chief since 2014. She values the personal connection the region has to the watershed – both as a major source of drinking water to the Baltimore metropolitan area and for the outstanding close-to-home opportunities for outdoor recreation.
- Roberta “Bert” Ficke is an internist retired from serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. On moving to Baltimore 10 years ago, she and her husband bought a woodland property and have been adding hundreds of native trees and shrubs annually to enhance the benefit to wildlife. They have planted 100 wild type American chestnuts they monitor for a Maryland Forestry Research Project. She is an active Baltimore County Master Gardener helping with the Demo garden small fruits orchard. She is the president of a local Garden Club of America affiliated garden club. She spends a lot of time learning about and extracting invasive non-native plants from her property and educating the citizens who walk by on the high traffic public path abutting their property. She volunteers at Johns Hopkins Hospital raising funds for critical equipment that advances patient care for the citizens of Baltimore.
- Carl R. Gold has practiced law in Maryland since graduating from Duke University Law School in 1981, where he also played basketball (intramural). An adjunct faculty member at Towson University since 2000, Carl is a Maryland Master Naturalist and a Baltimore City Forestry Board certified Tree Keeper and Weed Warrior. He lives 500 yards from the water’s edge of Loch Raven Reservoir and enjoys kayaking, hiking, trash and invasive plant removal there. He is a GVC Stream Captain, and a Trail Guide at Cromwell Valley Park and Marshy Point.
- Chris Johnson is a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Baltimore District. He works directly with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which includes various studies from stream restorations to coastal storm risk management and civil works navigation projects. Chris is also a Co-Chair in Baltimore District’s Environmental Justice Working group. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science from Salisbury University and was born, raised and continues to work in areas within and around the Gunpowder Watershed. In his spare time, he enjoys landscaping, nature walks with his family, spending time with friends, and attending sports events. Chris is a new Board member to GVC, joining in May 2023, and looks forward to spreading awareness to local communities about the Gunpowder Watershed and the various ways to enjoy and protect it.
- Bill Vondrasek is the Chief of Facility and Landscape Management for the National Park Service at Fort McHenry National Monument and Hampton National Historic Site. He received a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a M.A. in Public Horticulture Administration from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program. Bill walks his dog daily in the woods around Loch Raven Reservoir, is a very amateur bird watcher, and a slightly better bee keeper.
- Elisa Watson is a Creative Director at the Towson based, women-owned, agency; Redstart Creative, a division of Alpha Graphics. In that leadership position she oversees all creative projects and utilizes her 20+ years of graphic design and marketing experience to help clients meet and exceed their goals. Her design career has focused on nonprofts and businesses that are working to make positive change in the world – supporting education, the environment, and communities. Environmental, conservation, and preservation efforts have been a life-long passion that she continues to cultivate. She loves spending her freetime outdoors, running, hiking, camping, and gardening, with her husband and kids. Elisa is very excited to join the board and help continue to make a difference with GVC.