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Rock Creek Conservancy Welcomes Obama Era Senior White House Environmental Lawyer as Board Chairman


BETHESDA, MD, January 17, 2018 - Rock Creek Conservancy today announced the appointment of Gary S. Guzy as the Chairman of their Board of Directors for 2018.

Mr. Guzy is currently senior counsel at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C. where he is a member of the firm’s environmental, clean energy, public policy and government affairs practices. Previously, he served as the Deputy Director and General Counsel of the White House Council on Environmental Quality during the Obama Administration and was formerly General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Counselor to the EPA Administrator during the Clinton Administration. Mr.Guzy served on the Conservancy’s Board of Directors for a year prior to appointment.

“There can be no better sign of the Conservancy’s tremendous impact and growth over the last few years than the fact that someone of Gary’s stature in the environmental community has agreed to lead us over the next few years,” stated Scott Siff, who has been a member of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors since 2013 and who served as the Board Chairman from 2015 to 2017. He continued, “We are so excited to have him as our new Chair.”

Mr. Guzy’s appointment marks the growing influence of the Conservancy, which started as the living room project of 10 passionate local environmentalists and which has expanded exponentially in the past four years. The organization has grown from its bread-and-butter volunteer work (trash clean-ups and invasive plant removal) to become the driving force behind large restoration and local conservation efforts throughout the Rock Creek watershed in Washington D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Four prominent new Directors, who share the organization’s commitment to the local environment, have also been appointed to the board this year. These new members will play an integral role in extending the reach of the Conservancy to new audiences.

2018’s appointments include:

Ethan Landis, CEO at Landis Architects/Builders:

Ethan started Landis Architects/Builders with his brother Chris in 1990. Since then he has received two DC Mayor’s sustainability awards and his firm has received multiple design-build awards over the last 23 years from local and professional design-build associations. He has served 10 years on the DC construction code coordinating committee with an emphasis on greening DC’s building codes and he was a member of the Mayor’s green building advisory council under both Mayor Fenty and Gray.

Mark Maga, Founding President and CEO of Green Latinos:

Mark Magaña is the Founding President & CEO of GreenLatinos, a national coalition of Latino environmental, natural resources, and conservation advocates. Mr. Magaña was the first Latino to serve as senior staff at both the White House and in Congressional leadership - as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Legislative Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor to the House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Robert Menendez. Mr. Magaña also served as a politically appointed Congressional Liaison at the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, he served as the Legislative Assistant to Congressional Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), as a Federal Legislative Representative for the City of Los Angeles

Michael Sachse, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at New Enterprise Associates (NEA):

Prior to joining NEA, Michael was an early employee and member of the management team at Opower, which provided software as a service to utilities. Michael joined as the General Counsel and Head of Regulatory Affairs, and became Opower’s Chief Marketing Officer after leading the company through its initial public offering. Opower was acquired by Oracle in 2016.

Before joining Opower, Michael ran communications for, now, Congressman Jim Himes in his 2008 campaign and worked as a litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler. He also serves on the boards of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and Georgetown Day School.

Meridith Webster, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Emerson Collective:

Meridith oversees Emerson’s public advocacy campaigns. Prior to Emerson, she served as the Global Head of Public Affairs for Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She led the Foundation’s efforts to mobilize cities in connection with Mike Bloomberg’s role as UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to reduce emissions in connection with the 2015 Paris Conference of Parties and supported Mike Bloomberg in his role as UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.

Previously, Ms. Webster served in the White House as Senior Advisor to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and to interim Chief of Staff Pete Rouse. Webster joined under the Obama administration in January 2008 as Deputy Chief of Staff for Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations after working on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team’s national security and energy and environment policy working groups.

Click here to see the full Rock Creek Conservancy Board list.


Name: Katy Cain
Title: Communications Manager at Rock Creek Conservancy
Mobile: (540) 312 – 9404

- Rock Creek Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that exists to restore Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. As the only organization dedicated solely to Rock Creek and its parks and the primary philanthropic partner of Rock Creek Park, the Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education, and efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek. For more information, visit



Press Release: Rock Creek Conservancy Mobilizes Area Residents to Serve on King Weekend



‘Make it a Day on, not a Day Off’: Rock Creek Conservancy Mobilizes Area Residents to Serve on King Weekend

BETHESDA, MD, January 3, 2018 - Rock Creek Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, and Montgomery County Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with their annual MLK Weekend of Service, a weekend full of events at 12 sites throughout the Rock Creek watershed. This multi-day volunteer event will address local environmental problems related to litter and invasive plant species while supporting a nationwide effort to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Volunteers will participate in a variety of events designed to bring together local communities to protect and enhance the public lands that surround Rock Creek. Last year, the event mobilized 722 people who removed English ivy from 450 trees to protect Rock Creek’s tree canopy; removed invasive plants such as porcelainberry and wisteria to help native plants thrive; and cleaned up 390 bags of litter that had accumulated in and around Rock Creek and its tributaries. 

This will be the fifth year that the Conservancy will host the weekend of service, which leverages the strength of local citizens to help tackle local problems and advance Dr. King’s dream of opportunity for all. Having grown from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s national “MLK Day of Service” campaign, the annual event honors Dr. King’s legacy and is an opportunity for Americans to renew their own personal vows of citizenship through service to others.

“On this weekend we gather together with family, friends, and communities in service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy,” stated John Maleri the program manager for volunteers, outreach, and restoration at Rock Creek Conservancy. “The work we’re doing enhances the health and beauty of these public spaces, but it also gives us something larger. The simple act of volunteering makes our communities here stronger. Volunteering unites us with each other and with Rock Creek.”

And the community does come together. Some groups enjoy the event so much that they participate year after year. Blue Planet Scuba and Catholic University alone are expected to bring in hundreds of volunteers in 2018. 

To find an event near you and to sign up to volunteer visit


Name: Katy Cain
Title: Communications Manager at Rock Creek Conservancy
Mobile: (540) 312 – 9404 

 - Rock Creek Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that exists to restore Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. As the only organization dedicated solely to Rock Creek and its parks and the primary philanthropic partner of Rock Creek Park, the Conservancy is uniquely positioned to foster outreach, education, and efforts to overcome threats to Rock Creek. For more information, visit

ROCK CREEK PARK -  Rock Creek Park, a unit of the National Park Service, comprises nearly 3,000 acres in the heart of Washington, D.C. The park offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city for a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history. Approximately 4.5 million visitors come to the park for recreation opportunities--including hiking, bicycling, picnicking, fishing, bird-watching--and to explore historical topics--including Civil War history, milling, Colonial life, landscape architecture--and much, much more!

 MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION MONTGOMERY PARKS -  Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other park systems.



Matt Fleischer Bids "Farewell" to Rock Creek Conservancy


Rock Creek Conservancy Logo

Matt Fleischer addresses the crowd at the Rock Creek Gala.
  Matt Fleischer addresses the crowd at the Rock Creek Gala in 2017.  Photo credit: Nithabut Photography


Dear Friends of Rock Creek,
It is with a heavy heart that I say good-bye as I resign from my position as Executive Director of Rock Creek Conservancy. My family and I are relocating to Frederick, MD and I don’t feel that I can offer the position what it needs and deserves by not being close to this area.

It has been such a wonderful four years since I joined the team in early 2014 to do my very best to restore Rock Creek and its parklands as a natural oasis for all people to appreciate and protect. I grew up in the DC area and have used Rock Creek both in DC and Montgomery County all my life. These are my woods, this is my creek; these are our woods, this is our creek.  This is where I learned to love the outdoors and the tranquility that green space can provide.  This is where I became passionate about the environment and helping to restore and take care of it, because in so many ways it has taken care of me. 

The Conservancy has come a long way thanks to the enthusiastic people of this city who are just as dedicated to helping this treasure thrive as I am.  Our staff, budget, and impact have grown four-fold in the past four years. I leave filled with pride in the many accomplishments we have achieved. 

Together, we celebrated the 125th Anniversary of our beloved Rock Creek Park in 2015 with an illustrious Green Ribbon Panel and thoughtful, informative Green Paper outlining the next 125 years for the Park. We launched the Rock Creek Conservation Corps, which will have 60 youth out in the parks sweating, learning, and having fun this summer. We worked and will continue to work closely with our partners at DC Water to implement a downspout disconnection program to remove acres of impervious surface from the combined sewer system. And, of course, we’ve mobilized thousands of dedicated volunteers who join us in the heat, snow, and rain to restore our public spaces by picking up litter and saving our forests from invasive plants.

I know there is still so much work to be done, and I will miss all of you; our staff, our board, the National Park Service, Montgomery Parks, and all our partners and neighbors who have lent a hand for a cleaner, healthier Rock Creek. I know you all will continue this great work!

During this transition period, while we recruit a new Executive Director, Caroline Cunningham will be stepping in as Interim Executive Director. Caroline has an impressive background as the Founding CEO of the Trust for the National Mall. She has worked closely with the National Park Service for many years, and as a consultant to the Conservancy for the past eight months, she is extremely knowledgeable about the issues and the programs of our organization.  

It has been both an honor and a privilege to serve as the Executive Director of Rock Creek Conservancy.   I will always love Rock Creek, and I will continue to visit and care for this amazing resource.

With much gratitude,
Matt Fleischer


Gearing up for MLK Weekend of Service!


MLK Day Header


Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off!

We're gearing up for the 2018 MLK Weekend of Service, and we need you to help us save trees and clean streams in the Rock Creek watershed! Join us for events throughout Washington, DC and Montgomery County, MD on Monday, Jan. 15. 

See what we accomplished together in 2017! 

Volunteer activities include:

  • Cutting invasive English Ivy from trees to protect Rock Creek's tree canopy
  • Cutting invasive vines such as porcelain berry and Oriental bittersweet so natives can thrive
  • Cleaning up trash that has accumulated in and around Rock Creek and its tributaries.

Events all Weekend: 

There will be events scheduled throughout the weekend around Rock Creek. Please use the links to sign up to volunteer. More details coming soon! 

Saturday, January 13th

10 AM - 12 PM | MD | Trash Cleanup at Turkey Branch 

10 AM - 12 PM | DC | Invasive Removal at the Mouth of Rock Creek - FULL

Monday, January 15th

9:30 AM - 12 PM | MD | Trash Cleanup at Randolph Hills Local Park

10 AM - 12 PM | DC | Trash Removal at Broad Branch - FULL

10 AM - 12 PM | DC | English Ivy Removal at Crestwood/Piney Branch - FULL

10 AM - 12 PM | DC | Invasive Vine Removal at Fenwick Branch - FULL

10 AM - 12 PM | DC |  Trash Cleanup at Peirce Mill with Blue Planet Scuba - FULL

10 AM - 12 PM | DC |  Trash Cleanup at Soapstone Tributary with the DC Mayor's Office - FULL

10 AM - 12 PM | MD |  Trash Cleanup at Meadowbrook Local Park - FULL

1 PM - 3 PM | MD | Trash Cleanup at Beret Park

2 PM - 4 PM | DC |  English Ivy Removal at Hearst Rec Center - FULL

Saturday, January 20th

10 AM - 12 PM: Invasive Removal at Melvin Hazen East

More events coming soon. 

Map of Volunteer Locations:


Our partners for these events are the National Park ServiceMontgomery Parks, and Blue Planet Scuba.

Interested in getting a group involved? Email John Maleri at





Join us! Nature walk with Melanie Choukas-Bradley

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Above: Hikers join Melanie Choukas-Bradley on a forest bathing hike, soaking in all that Rock Creek has to offer. 
Photo credit: Kathryn E. Arion

Start December Off Right!

Saturday, December 9, 2017, 9:30-1:30

Join the Rock Creek Conservancy and Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of A Year in Rock Creek Park and City of Trees, for a late autumn nature hike in the floodplain forest and upland woods of Rock Creek Park. We’ll walk along a scenic stretch of Rock Creek beginning at Boundary Bridge on the Maryland-DC line. Sycamores, maples, American elms, cottonwoods, ironwoods, river birches, tulip trees, pawpaws, and bladdernuts are among the woody plants we’ll encounter. We’ll pass a skunk cabbage swamp and switch back into an upland forest where extremely old oaks and beeches grow. The timing of the walk should allow for the study of many different types of autumn fruits: acorns of several oak species, three species of hickory, black walnut, hop-hornbeam and many others.

If weather permits, we’ll picnic on a dramatic rocky ledge crowned with American beech, pinxterflower, mountain laurel and blooming witch-hazel.

This nature walk is completely booked, but we're hosting a few more nature walks this month with another DC author: Scott Einberger.

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Want more about Melanie?

This Halloween we joined her on a forest bathing walk through Rock Creek. You won't believe what we discovered!