Leadership

The Friends of Eastern Neck is managed by a Board of Directors and its appointed officers, but its strength lies in its members and volunteers and its close working relationship with the staff of the Refuge. The Refuge Manager is an ex-officio member of the Board. There are currently over 150 memberships including family memberships, individual memberships and organizations.

Simon Kenyon - President

When Simon and his wife Sue moved to Rock Hall in 2014, they had no idea that Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge even existed. This peaceful, beautiful place soon became an important part of his life as he started volunteering in the Bayscape Butterfly Garden and the gift shop, and joined the Board in 2016. A retired veterinarian whose career took him around the world to work with large domestic animals, he found the delicacy of butterflies and abundance of wild birds rewired his brain. Simon’s fellow Board members elected him President in 2020.  

Phil Cicconi - Vice President

Phil Cicconi Vice President

Phil Cicconi joined the Friends and began volunteering in 1998. Phil was invited to join the board and became the Vice President in 1999. He became President in 2000 and maintained that position until he relinquished it in 2007. Currently, Phil is again Vice President of the Friends organization. Eastern Neck has become part of both his and his wife Jackie’s lives as Jackie volunteers as the refuge bookstore manager.

Cece Trainor - Secretary

Cece grew up in Baltimore and first visited Rock Hall on her father’s 19-foot outboard. She began weekending here more than 20 years ago while working as a molecular biologist at the National Institutes of Health. Cece and her husband Bill, a pulmonologist who practiced in Chestertown for many years, retired and moved to Rock Hall in 2017. They both love to cruise and race their sailboat, which they keep on Swan Creek. Cece was elected to the Board early in 2020 and continues to volunteer at the gift shop/bookstore.

Meg Parry

Board Member Meg Parry

Meg, an avid birder, moved to Rock Hall in 2001 and has been visiting and enjoying the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge ever since. For the past seven years, she has been privileged to be part of a team conducting a weekly winter waterfowl survey at the Refuge. This experience has helped to hone her waterfowl identification skills and expand her appreciation of this diverse and bountiful refuge. Meg is pleased to serve on the Friends of Eastern Neck Board.

Bonnie Ford

Bonnie Ford
Bonnie was elected to the Board in 2021 and has served as a volunteer at the gift shop and a mentor for interns. A writer by profession, she has maintained a lifelong interest in native plants, birds, butterflies and wildlife, and enjoys talking to Refuge visitors about the history and ecology of the island. Bonnie can often be found touring the island on foot or by bike, kayak or stand-up paddle board with her husband Bob, whose family has deep roots in Kent County.

Bill Burton

Board Member Bill Burton
Bill and his wife Bobbie moved to Rock Hall from Baltimore after he retired from a 44-year career in environmental sciences. His work took him from the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays to coastal North Carolina and New York’s Hudson River and Long Island Sound, and included water quality monitoring, habitat assessments, fisheries and shellfish studies, marsh restoration, and contaminant testing. An avid naturalist who loves to sail and fish, Bill now coordinates volunteers at the Bayscape Butterfly Garden, where he and his wife maintain a plot. He was elected to the Board in 2022.

Leann Miller

Leann Miller

Leann started volunteering at Eastern Neck soon after she moved to Rock Hall from Pennsylvania in 1997, and joined the Friends soon after it was founded. She is the treasurer and the editor of the Friends newsletter, The Rookery. She has participated in many Refuge projects over the years, from building decks and boardwalks to planting grasses and trees. The Refuge is her refuge – her peaceful, quiet place – from the crazy world outside.

Sue Conaghan - Treasurer

Sue Conaghan
Sue, a retired payroll manager, has lived in Kent County for 40 years. She believes in “family first, with dog. Outside is the best place to be.’’

Laurie Resele

Laurie Resele
Laurie is originally from central Pennsylvania and got acquainted with Rock Hall on frequent visits over twenty years. When she retired as a Veterinary Hospital Practice Manager, she and her husband Bob decided to make Rock Hall their full-time home. Laurie has volunteered in the visitors center, and maintains a plot at the Bayscape Butterfly Garden. She became the Friends of Eastern Neck Volunteer Coordinator in 2019, was elected to the Board in January 2020 and hopes to keep building on and supporting the Friends’ wonderful group of dedicated volunteers.

Jamie Frees Miller

Board Member Jamie Frees Miller
Jamie is a 2012 graduate of Washington College. After earning a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, she returned to Chestertown to work at her alma mater, teaching Anthropology and taking various roles with the Center for Environment & Society. She first visited the Refuge on a date with her future husband, Craig, a Kent County native. The island is a favorite destination for her family and she enjoys bringing her son with her on hikes. An author and certified holistic health coach, Jamie was elected to the board in 2022.