John Griffin – Program Manager

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As Partnership Coordinator, John works to advance large landscape conservation initiatives in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by convening diverse, multi-disciplinary stakeholders. The Partnership seeks to extend the conservation of large landscapes throughout the region to benefit multiple values, including sustainability; scenic, historic and cultural heritage; working lands; important bio- diversity and wildlife habitat; water quality and supply; and overall quality of life.

John is the former Secretary of Maryland Department of Natural Resources under two Governors, the Deputy Secretary of the department, the General Manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and served as Chief of Staff for Governor Martin O’Malley. He brings decades of experience with resource conservation and environmental protection as well as relationships across the Chesapeake watershed.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Niagara University and Master of Arts in social work from the Catholic University of America. He has five children and three granddaughters and lives in Annapolis with his wife Michele and their twin boys.

Ben Alexandro – Deputy Program Manager

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Ben Alexandro joined the partnership in November 2022 as the Deputy Program Manager. Ben is well versed in partnership building, conservation science, and policy issues. He championed several policy victories to protect forests, clean water, and the Chesapeake Bay. Ben led advocacy efforts on public lands and waters conservation issues while he was the Senior Government Affairs Advocate at the League of Conservation Voters. He also spent six years working to conserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed at the Maryland League of Conservation Voters where he most recently was the Water Program Director and the Maryland lead for the Choose Clean Water Coalition. Before graduate school, he coordinated the Potomac Watershed Partnership with the Cacapon Institute.

Ben has a M.S. in conservation biology and sustainable development and a M.P.P. in environmental public policy with a focus on nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Maryland. He also earned a B.S. in wildlife conservation from the University of Delaware. Ben started his career in field research chasing bears, netting bats, and tagging birds but now mostly chases around his young son, Orion, with his wife, Kaidza, in Crofton Maryland.

Mike Bonnell – Chesapeake Conservation Corps Member

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Mike graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Biology. He is now with Chesapeake Conservancy as part of a year-long Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program. He is working with the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership as a Staff Assistant and Project Manager. He will also be providing assistance to John Griffin, the CCP Program Manager.

When he can’t get outside for hiking and wildlife photography, he spends time practicing bass guitar. He is extremely excited to be working with the Conservancy for the next year.