Three tapped for statewide agro-ecology nonprofit

The new members of the Hughes Center board of directors are, from left, Pat Stuntz, Thomas “Mac” Middleton and Amy Jacobs. Middleton was named president of the board.

QUEENSTOWN — Three leaders in Maryland’s environmental and agricultural communities have been tapped for membership on the University of Maryland Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology’s board of directors.

The Hughes Center has announced the board membership of former state Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton; Amy Jacobs, agriculture program director in Maryland and Washington, D.C., for the Nature Conservancy; and Pat Stuntz, former program officer for the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment and former Maryland director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

Middleton was voted president of the board, taking over for Chestertown dairy farmer Ed Fry, according to a news release.

“We searched for someone who can carry the mantle of leadership, just as Gov. Hughes did,” Fry said.

The Hughes Center’s board comprises members who represent a cross-section of the communities the center serves — agriculture, forestry and the environment.

The three new board members come at a time when the center is approaching its 20th anniversary in December. The center is working on several priority projects statewide in the agriculture, forestry and environmental communities that potentially hold positive implications for the future of Bay cleanup. This includes the funding of applied scientific research that aims to address agricultural issues in an environmentally forward way.

Middleton represented Charles County in the state Senate from 1995 through 2018 and currently sits on the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Commission. During his time in office, Middleton was known to champion agricultural and environmental issues and find common ground between differing opinions, a core motto of the Hughes Center since its founding in 1999. For a period of time, he was the only full-time farmer in the legislature.

“The Hughes Center is a wonderful venue for solving some of the agriculture and environmental issues we see around the state,” Middleton said. “I appreciate the diversity of the Hughes Center board of directors and its dedication to bringing those perspectives equally to the conversation. I am honored to serve on the board and look forward to working with other board members on the Hughes Center’s projects.”

Jacobs joined the Maryland/D.C. chapter of the Nature Conservancy in 2011 and leads efforts to improve water quality in agricultural landscapes across the Chesapeake Bay watershed, both through large-scale wetland and floodplain restoration projects and working with farmers and agribusinesses to implement best practices to keep nutrients on fields and out of waterways.

“I am excited to join the diverse board of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology to work together to advance agriculture and forestry in Maryland that provides clean water and resiliency in face of our changing climate,” Jacobs said.

Stuntz formerly was the Maryland director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, helping to bring an economic focus to the Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. She then served as a program officer at the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, where she managed the nonprofit’s agriculture and energy portfolios. Most recently, she was a senior project manager at Hatcher Communications.

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