MEET OUR VOLUNTEER TEAM
Dr. Bernadette Roche, Co-Lead of GreenGrace, is a Biology professor and Director of the Environmental and Sustainability Minor at Loyola University Maryland. As a child in the 1970, she experienced the first earth day and found her tribe. This love of nature was enhanced during her undergraduate years as a Biology Major at the University of Virginia, where she participated in summer courses and programs at the Mountain Lake Biological Station. Her dissertation work at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill involved research on plant-animal interactions at Mountain Lake, and there she cemented her interest in teaching ecology and evolution to undergraduates, in an effort to address the biodiversity crisis that is now recognized as the sixth mass extinction. Through her work with GreenGrace, she has become more involved in actionable environmental justice and would like to see GreenGrace continue to intersect with communities throughout Maryland to promote a healthy environment for all to share in. She worships and sings in the choir with her husband Bill Spare at the Church of the Transfiguration in Braddock Heights, MD, where she is also a member of the Vestry.
Dick Williams, Co-Lead of GreenGrace, is retired from a career in real estate lending, urban planning, public/private venture development, and green building consulting. Dick become certified as a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional in September 2020 so retired his 10-year LEED AP accreditation. That work included the LEED Silver certification of The Fitzgerald, a transit-oriented mixed-use $75M apartment building in Midtown Baltimore. Thereafter, he guided St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Annapolis, in the LEED Silver Certification of its $4.3M Formation Building. He leads Memorial Episcopal Church, Bolton Hill’s Justice Committee Creation Care Team where he was the co-originator/project manager of the nearby Mount Royal E/M School 2,160 sq. ft. pollinator micro-habitat/outdoor classroom, dedicated in November, 2018. He remains its steward. Dick is a licensed Baltimore TreeKeeper/TreePruner. Through GreenGrace, Dick hopes to stimulate Creation Care activities in Diocesan churches where there is little or none, and to advance awareness of Environmental Justice issues and join actions to address these challenges.
Ellen Hoitsma, a GreenGrace member since 2018, grew up in New England, spending summers on a small New Hampshire lake and hiking in the White Mountains. She has been a teacher at The Park School of Baltimore for 25 years where she enjoys inspiring young students to become more environmentally-aware, geo-literate citizens. Her third grade class manages the school’s TerraCycle collection, diverting hundreds of pounds of hard-to-recycle waste from landfills each year. She has traveled extensively in Europe and Central and North America. Ellen spent several weeks in Arctic Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland as a 2016 National Geographic/Lindblad Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. She is an active member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Towson, singing in the choir and participating in their asylee/refugee ministry.
Ken McElroy, a long-time member of GreenGrace, graduated in 1962 from the University of Virginia with a degree in civil engineering. Following work for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, he was commissioned in the U. S. Public Health Service Reserve, inspecting wastewater treatment plants under construction in five Midwest states. Following discharge from the USPHS Reserve, Ken obtained an MS in Sanitary Engineering/Water Resources Management, then a position with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore as a water resources planner. Back in the Midwest, Ken worked for the Great Lakes Basin Commission, contributing to a US/Canadian agreement to address Great Lakes water pollution problems, which agreement was executed in 1972. Ken returned to Baltimore to work for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene when for several years he was a state representative to the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators. In retirement since 1997, Ken’s service to others includes a board member of The Children’s Peace Center, Inc., a nonprofit offering summer camp for elementary-age youth, and leadership training for older youth and young adults. Ken, who with his wife have four children and 8 grandchildren, is an active member of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church.
Paul Smail, a GreenGrace member since 2015, works for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation as a Staff Litigation Attorney. His responsibilities include developing and litigating a variety of cases against polluters that fail to comply with Federal and state environmental laws and regulations. Before he went into law, Paul worked for state and Federal environmental agencies, and was a Faculty Research Assistant for Dr. Walter Boynton at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, MD, which is a campus of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. There he studied ecosystem ecology, including the interactions between water quality, nutrient transport, sediment biogeochemistry, and seagrasses in estuarine systems. Paul grew up in Annapolis, lived for a decade in Baltimore, and has since returned to Anne Arundel County. He is a member of St. Stephen’s – Severn Parish, in Crownsville, Maryland.