Board Members

Left to right: Bruce Phillips, Mike Kay, Claude Eans (retired), Bethany Dell'Agnello, David Barrow, Dawne Howard, Tom Anderson, Lori & Keith Schoonover. Not pictured Dakota Durcho, Vince Perrotta, David Hunter and Drake Russell

Board Members

Staffing of Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board consist of an executive secretary (DNR forester for the district) and volunteers from the county that have showed interest in forestry and have been approved by the executive secretary and the state forester. To contact a volunteer Board members use the Contact us link and include the name or names of the Board members in the subject line of your e-mail message.

Dakota Durcho, Executive Secretary

Forester, Maryland Forest Service

Contact information is on the Home page

The Executive Secretary is responsible for organizing and taking meeting minutes at the monthly Forestry Board meeting. He also can provide guidance.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR) has appointed Durcho to the position of Executive Secretary for the Frederick County Forestry Board, starting January 1, 2022. Durcho holds a degree in Forestry Management from Pennsylvania State University. He worked out of the Annapolis headquarters as the Chesapeake Watershed Forester, where he completed State-wide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping projects, database management, forest data inventory, and tree plantings until he was assigned to the Monocacy Watershed where he initiated an Agroforestry Showcase. As Wildland Firefighter, Durcho helped extinguish massive burns in Colorado, South Dakota, Idaho, and California.

Volunteer Members

Vincent Perrotta, Chair

With an education degree from the Univ. of MD in Industrial Technology and 30+ years of sales in veterinary, medical and electronics, Vincent joined the Board in 2013. Excited about spending as much time as possible outdoors in the woods, vineyard, and garden, he hopes to impart the same to others in the community. Vincent and his wife live at Worman's Mill in Frederick on property that has been deeded to the Maryland Environmental Trust.

Sonia Demiray, Vice Chair

With a lifelong dedication to the conservation of natural places and resources, Sonia is passionate about the beauty, diversity, and nurturing essence of trees and forests. A communications strategist by profession, she maintains media relations and informs the public about trees, their health, drawdown, afforestation, good stewardship, and forest conservation with the Frederick County Forestry Board. Sonia is licensed in Sciences of Information by the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain), certified in strategic planning by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, and holds a Masters in Mass Communications from Towson University (Baltimore).

David Barrow, Treasurer & Webmaster

Dave retired from the federal government in 2012 and likes to stay busy. He and his wife Jan have maintained a state certified tree farm in Myersville since 1996, reforesting 15 of their 17 acres. In 2019-2020 the Barrow's Tree Farm was selected as the Frederick County Tree Farm of the Year. He is focused on developing riparian forest both on his property and with Stream-Link Education to improve water quality in the Catoctin and Monocacy watersheds. From 2017 through 2020 he was the Western Region Tree Farm Representative and Vice Chair of the Maryland Tree Farm Committee.

Read about Dave planting and see drone video of there 2017 riparian forest planting

Rebuilding a forest: Couple replant decades of lost trees near Myersville

Drone video of riparian planting

April 2018 update

When this article was written, the Barrow's thought they wouldn't have any area's left to reforest, however when the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle came through last summer they lost hundreds of white and green ash trees. With the help of several friends, they removed nearly 200 dead trees over the winter and replanted 400 new seedling in April 2018.

Bethany Dell'Agnello, Urban Forest

Bethany was born and raised in rural Kentucky and wandered farm field and forest at an early age, determined by age 10 to become the next Euell Gibbons, her exalted idol. Boxes of nature artifacts, rocks, seed pods and bones accumulated under her bed until her mother insisted that she toss them out. Many Grape-nuts were eaten. She went on to get a BS in Evolutionary Zoology followed by graduate work to earn her teaching credentials. She taught middle and high school science for 23 years in both Kentucky and Maryland, she sponsored various science and ecology clubs through the years, trying to inspire young people to love science, nature and the outdoors. After retiring, she began teaching a “Nature Walking 101” class as part of the continuing education program at Frederick Community College where she learned that retired folks are the very best students. She is also an educator for the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s “Bridging the Watershed” program, leading field trips for students of all ages in our national parks. During her classes for this program, kids participate in activities that teach them about watersheds, water quality and ecology. After finding and nominating her first “Big Tree” for the Maryland Big Tree Program, Bethany was hooked on Big Tree Hunting and eagerly joined the forestry board of Frederick County!

Bethany Dell'Angello and Claude Eans measure a big tree in Frederick.

Photo courtesy of the Frederick News Post

Bethany has a passion about trees. She has been working on a walking tour in Frederick of some of the largest trees in the city. Read the article in the Frederick News Post.

Stumped by giants: Woman determines state's largest Sugarberry is in Frederick

Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson has served on the Forestry Board for over 29 years, contributing with his experience as a former environmental scientist, including conducting evaluations of the use of trees for improving and maintaining the purity of our soil and water resources. Tom has completed training in the Maryland Forest Conservation Act and in Forest Management with the University of Maryland. In 2017 Tom earned a cybersecurity degree and pursuing a follow-on college program in computer science -information systems. Tom is a member of the Frederick County Sustainability Commission and operates a certified Tree Farm. Tom won the the prestigious Mel Noland Award in 2020. Read about Tom's accomplishment in the Frederick News Post.

Dave Hunter

David loves being outdoors in forests and natural settings and working with young people. He currently works for Baltimore Yearly Meetings Quaker summer camping programs as the camp property manager where he coordinates the management of nearly 1000 acres of primarily forested land in Maryland and Virginia. He has also worked as a camp director and school teacher. He is passionate about preserving forests and offering young people opportunities to understand the importance of forested land and sustainable land use to future generations.

Bruce Phillips

My interest in trees started during the summer of 1964 when I was working for C.W. Stewart & Co. while at the Univ. of Md. It was a summer job during the break and included selling bare root trees and shrubs door to door. Sales included a free landscape design if you purchased the plant material. Hard sell, but I learned a lot about design and plant material. After graduating I took a job offer working for TREEMASTERS, a tree care company in the Washington D.C. metro area. Here I cared for thousands of trees during my 12-year stay.

After seeing progress in the landscape industry, I changed careers and worked for Chapel Valley Landscape Co. There I oversaw hundreds of commercial job sites and scheduled the planting of thousands of trees and shrubs over a 15-year period. Wanting to know more about trees in the nursery, I changed companies and worked for J.H. Burton & Sons, a nursery, garden center, and landscape company. There I sold thousands of trees and shrubs to the commercial industry as well as to the private sector. This rounded out my knowledge of growing and caring for trees and other plant material.

Staying with my interest in trees, I purchased TREEMASTERS after the owner decided to retire. This is the same company I worked for after college. After expanding the company to 40 employees, we had four arborist providing tree care in the Baltimore, Washington D.C., Virginia areas. During this 12-year period we cared for many commercial and residential properties with magnificent trees. While working in the tree and landscape industries, I also planted hundreds of trees and shrubs on my own property’s. Trees have been part of my life for the past fifty years and will always be part of my family.

Now in retirement I've decided to stay involved in the forest by volunteering on the Forest Conservancy District Board in Frederick County.

Drake Russell

Drake has 33 acres of trees on his property. He became a Maryland Woodland Steward in 2018 and join the forestry board soon after.

Keith Schoonover

Keith, the owner of a sawmill that sits on an old dairy farm near Jefferson, was recently interviewed by the Frederick News-Post. Over the years, Keith has built a reputation as someone who likes trees and knows what to do with them. Now, many tree removal companies and other people in the area call Schoonover when they come across a big piece of timber in danger of ending up on the burn pile.

Read the full FNP article: Sawmill owner puts trees on display

Lori Schoonover

Lori joined the Board in 2018 and is the wife of Keith Schoonover.

Mike Kay, Associate member

Mike Kay has support forestry conservation in Frederick County for over 35 years as the Maryland DNR forester for the county. Now in retirement, he continues to support the board with Big Tree Measuring, writing Nature Notes articles and doing logging site exams. He is a Maryland Registered Professional Forester and is a Certified Arborist from the International Society of Arboriculture. Mike was named the National Tree Farm Inspector of the Year in 2020.

Read about Mike's career.