The Friends Organization
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.
Board of Directors
Simon Kenyon - President
Simon started volunteering in the butterfly garden and the gift shop soon after he moved to Rock Hall in 2014. He joined the Board in 2016. When he moved to the area he had no idea that this beautiful and peaceful place would become such an important part of his life. He became President in 2020.
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 Trainor grew up in Baltimore and her first visits to Rock Hall were on her father’s boat. About 18 years ago her husband Bill took a job in Chestertown and she started spending weekends in Rock Hall. They both love to sail and keep their sailboat on Swan Creek. They retired in 2017 and Cece began to join local organizations. FoEN was one of these and she volunteers in the bookstore. She joined the FoEN Board early in 2020.
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 joined the Board in 2021 after serving as a Refuge volunteer and 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.
Bill joined the Board in 2022. He has been the Butterfly Garden Coordinator since 2020.
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 joined the board in 2017
Laurie is originally from central Pennsylvania and has been coming to Rock Hall on weekends for about twenty years. Four years ago, when she retired as a Veterinary Hospital Practice Manager, she and her husband moved to Rock Hall fulltime. She started her volunteer efforts working in the visitor center, and then began maintaining a plot at the butterfly garden. In 2019 Laurie became the Friends of Eastern Neck Volunteer Coordinator and served as a non-voting Board Member. She was elected to the Board in January 2020 and continues to keep track of our wonderful group of dedicated volunteers.
Jamie Frees Miller
Jamie joined the Board in 2022. She has had a long association with the Refuge. Jamie has been an intern coordinator for the Friends of Eastern Neck since 2018