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.
Bill Burton, President
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.
Bonnie Ford, Vice-President
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.
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.
Sue Conaghan, Treasurer
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.’’
Rudy and his wife Liz found their way to the Refuge while vacationing, and enjoyed the area so much that they bought a home in Rock Hall. They walk, run, cycle and kayak around the island regularly, taking in its beautiful variety of landscapes and spectacular sunsets, and also love to sail. Rudy has worked in senior management roles all over the world, but the Chesapeake Bay holds a special place in his heart. He was elected to the Board in November 2023 and looks forward to making an impact.
Jennifer is a Kent County native who lives in Rock Hall with her husband and two young sons. She enjoys amateur photography and spending time on the island with her family, and began volunteering at the Butterfly Garden in 2021. Jennifer is an account manager for local insurance agency Dukes-Moore, and formerly worked as a veterinary technician at Chestertown Animal Hospital. She was elected to the Board in January, 2023 and is committed to developing more youth programs on the island.
Bird watching first brought David to the Refuge 20 years ago, and he has been a dedicated volunteer since he and his wife moved to Rock Hall in 2016. A software engineer and career-long IT specialist, David re-built the Butterfly Garden frog pond, complete with solar-powered waterfall. He also helped re-glaze the windows at the historic Lodge, and maintains 30 Wood Duck nest boxes on the island. He was elected to the Board in 2023 and looks forward to more “labors of love” on new and continuing projects.
Simon Kenyon, President Emeritus
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.
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.
Carol, who raised three sons in Kennett Square, PA, first discovered the Refuge when she was taking her boys to the YMCA’s Camp Tockwogh in Worton. She began bird-watching with her father as a child, studied horticulture at the University of Delaware and is an avid flower and vegetable gardener. She lives in Rock Hall and is also active with the Lions Club. Carol was elected to the Board in 2023, and manages the FOEN Gift Shop and Bookstore at the Lodge.